Lee Announces Major Campus Development, Significant Gift

Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Pictured from left, Paul Conn, Allan Jones, Lee Vice President for University Relations Jerome Hammond, Will Jones (Allan’s son), and Janie “Pangle” Jones.
Pictured from left, Paul Conn, Allan Jones, Lee Vice President for University Relations Jerome Hammond, Will Jones (Allan’s son), and Janie “Pangle” Jones.

Lee University will soon begin a new surge of campus development which will bring its borders to the heart of downtown Cleveland, according to an announcement made by Lee President Paul Conn at the Cleveland Rotary Club luncheon on Tuesday. 

Dr. Conn said the university is preparing to move forward with the integration of the old First Baptist Church of Cleveland properties into its campus footprint.  The plan will include the renovation of the main sanctuary building into a music performance hall, the construction of a new academic building, and the demolition of a building which formerly housed retail space in Cleveland’s downtown area to make way for lawns and open “green space.”

The key to the new plan is “a major gift of property and cash” from the Allan Jones Foundation, which Dr. Conn also announced Tuesday.   Allan Jones said, in a prepared statement, “It is our family’s pleasure to make this donation to Lee University, which will strengthen downtown Cleveland, higher education, and traditional family values.

Dr. Conn declined to reveal the amount of the gift, but announced that the renovated First Baptist sanctuary will be named “Pangle Hall” in honor of Janie Jones, Allan’s wife.  “Pangle is not only Janie’s maiden name, but is also a nickname I gave her.  Many of her friends now know her as ‘Pangle Jones’,” the local business leader explained.

The opening of both the new music hall and the academic building will be scheduled for fall 2014, Dr. Conn said.  “We are studying other universities which have recently remodeled old churches into performance venues.  There are some good examples out there.  The old First Baptist sanctuary is a classic, handsome building, and it is important to us and to the Jones family that this familiar structure not be altered unnecessarily.

“But there are some changes we will make, mostly inside, which will make it more suitable for larger musical events.  And on the outside, we will remove the steeple and replace it with a cupola which will more faithfully reflect an academic style of building.”

Mr. Jones told the Banner:  “We have watched for many years the wonderful work Dr. Conn has done defining his campus with architecture.  The continued expansion of Lee’s campus toward the traditional downtown area is a wonderful development for both Lee and historic Cleveland.  The campus reminds me of the beautiful Ole Miss campus, and our family is proud to be a part of that.”

Dr. Conn said the first step in the new plan is “a significant amount of demolition” of structures within the extended campus footprint which will create new green, open sight lines and create room for new construction.  Also on the schedule for eventual demolition are various small houses which lie between the core of the Lee campus and the new construction.

“We are grateful to the Jones family for this wonderful gift,” Dr. Conn said.  “It is the final piece in the puzzle for us.  We have lots of work to do, and it will take us three or four years to complete the overall plan, but now, thanks to this gift, we can begin.”

DR. Conn reflected that the property slated for redevelopment has been an important part of downtown Cleveland life throughout his lifetime.  “I worked at J.C. Penney’s when I was in high school,” he recalled, “and Allan Jones remembers watching when the steeple was erected at the First Baptist Church.  This area is full of memories for all of us, and now we hope to redevelop it into something special for generations to come.”

The two other parts of the former First Baptist building will be used for a campus childcare center and additional classroom space for one of the university’s academic departments. 

 


Cleveland State To Present 'The Anonymous People'

Cleveland State Community College will present “The Anonymous People” film and panel discussion on Thursday, Oct. 16 at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the George R. Johnson Cultural Heritage Center Theater. “The Anonymous People” is a feature documentary film about the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Representatives ... (click for more)

Lee's Rumschlag Participates In Archaeology Projects

Lee University senior Sam Rumschlag is a few months shy of obtaining his bachelor’s degree in anthropology, yet he spent his summer brushing the dirt from ancient artifacts in Mongolia and Italy alongside world-class archaeologists from premier universities. “The anthropology faculty at Lee University feels that Sam has had excellent preparation to go to the next level of archaeology ... (click for more)

Witnesses In 17-Year-Old Murder Case Say They Saw Hollingsworth Threaten, Mistreat Wife

Two potential witnesses in a 17-year-old murder testified Monday that they saw Adolphus Lebron Hollingsworth threaten and mistreat his wife Vicky before she disappeared in 1997. Hollingsworth, who is under $200,000 bond, is set for trial on Nov. 4. Orville Hughes said he lived around the corner from Vicky when he was on Chamberlain Avenue and they were on Duncan Avenue. ... (click for more)

Family Makes Treasure Trove Of Early Chattanooga Photographs Available For Book; Stokes Collection Has Been Passed Down To Descendants

A treasure trove of Chattanooga photographs that have been passed down in the Stokes family for generations has now been assembled in an upcoming book. Chattanooga Around The Turn Of The Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection will be published by Chattanoogan.com. Pre-orders are now being taken for the book, which includes over 700 photos on large-size pages. Publisher ... (click for more)

How To Reform The City Industrial Development Board - And Response (3)

My aims is to bring to the public’s attention the need for procedural changes that, if implemented, would significantly improve the information available the public, to the City Council and to the City Industrial Development Board about the verifiable benefits and costs of tax incentive financing structures and to make the entire process transparent. The public, the City ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: He Can Never Go Home

When Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston sparked top-ranked Florida State to a 56-41 comeback over N.C. State last Saturday, you would have thought the world had forgotten and virtually excused his vulgar rant from the week before. His inexcusable mid-week antics kept him sidelined during the Clemson game and brought down the nation’s scorn but less than a week later he was ... (click for more)