Lee Announces Major Campus Development, Significant Gift

Tuesday, December 4, 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 Hosted Last Of Its STEM Camps For The Summer

Cleveland State Community College’s Continuing Education Department hosted the last of its summer enrichment STEM camps this week. Camps included Musical Theater, Pastry Arts and Scratch Baking Science. Participants of the Musical Theater Camp put together a musical, while Scratch Baking Science participants learned the science of dough rising and fermentation and made ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Helps Barroso Land Dream Job

How bad do you want it? This is a question that CSCC student Carlos Barroso was once asked by Evangelist T.D. Jakes at a men’s conference shortly before enrolling at CSCC and now, it’s the motto Barroso lives by. At the time, he was unsure what the question meant, but after a little soul searching, he understood exactly what he needed to do in order to achieve his goals. ... (click for more)

Nashville Man Arrested By TBI For Trafficking 12-Year-Old Texas Girl For Sex

Special Agents in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Unit, working alongside local and federal partners, have arrested and charged a Nashville man accused of trafficking a 12-year-old from Texas for the purposes of commercial sex. On Friday evening, the TBI received information from the U.S. Marshals Service about the possible whereabouts of a Texas ... (click for more)

Michael Ford Sentenced To More Than 13 Years In Prison On Drug Charges

Michael Shawn Ford has been sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison on drug charges. On April 20, 2105, Ford was arrested at his house in East Ridge. Police found him hiding in the closet with a laundry bag which contained a loaded pistol and 7.9 grams of crystal meth. Officers said that two backpacks were found in the same bedroom, one with 257.3 grams of crystal meth ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Today’s Offensive Word

A respected Knoxville business owner, Lois McGinnis, called the classifieds desk at the Knoxville News-Sentinel on Tuesday and politely asked to place an ad she wanted to appear on Thursday: “Store closing sale – Cedar Springs Christian Store –Clinton Highway location. All merchandise, fixtures, slat walls must go. Sale through August 13, phone 865-XXX-XXXX.” But on Thursday ... (click for more)