University of Mary tackles unending vision | Education

When one project stops, another one starts.

That’s the motto at the University of Mary as part of Vision 2030, a fundraising campaign that reflects what the university plans to do in the next 13 years.

The current focus is on the Lumen Vitae University Center, according to Jerome Richter, vice president for public affairs. The 80,000-square-foot campus center, expected to open this fall, will have a ballroom, conference center, dining hall, bookstore, coffee shop and a bank.

“It’s exciting,” Richter said of the new community spaces.

Vision 2030 encompasses three phases: The first phase includes the new Field House and Wellness Center, a 276-bed women’s residence hall that opened in the fall and the Lumen Vitae University Center.

The University of Mary saw 11 percent growth in all-around student enrollment from fall 2015 to fall of 2016, an increase of about 300 students. Total enrollment sits at about 3,250 students, and more than 50 percent of its students are from out of state.

The university has doubled the number of beds on campus in recent years. Five years ago, the university had just over 600 beds. Now, it has more than 1,200.

“There will be approximately a third more square footage on our campus in fall 2018 than we had in fall 2017,” said Michael McMahon, assistant vice president for enrollment services. “That speaks to growth in a particular type of way — that there’s just more places for people to be.”

As soon as the Lumen Vitae University Center is completed, the old Dining Center, bookstore and wellness space will become the new School of Engineering. Currently, engineering students are in an older science building on campus.

When the university opened its engineering program in the fall in response to greater demand, there were 45 students, according to Richter, pointing out that the engineering school will soon…

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