The Board and the Administration believe there is a strong need for a long-range campus master plan. Some alumni have raised concerns about maintaining our heritage. The following note from the Chairman of the Board and the Administration acknowledges and responds to those concerns.
During the past few weeks, the conversation regarding the future of Doyle Hall—whether pro or con—has been quite active and spirited. Many alumni have shown their passion for PC and their commitment to the tradition of involvement in the life of the College.
The discussion about Doyle, though, is only part of a broader conversation about our facilities. We need to examine how we best use our campus to serve our mission and the needs of our students, and we need to identify the top priorities for our facilities. The Board believes it is important to address the concerns raised about Doyle in the context of the overall facility plans for PC.
The Administration, with the concurrence of the Trustees, engaged Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D) a nationally recognized master planning and program management firm, to lead a planning process for PC. B&D visited the campus and interviewed faculty, staff, and students, to aid in identifying the top priorities for our facilities.
The master plan conversations on campus, as well as discussions with parents and prospective students, have helped solidify our top priorities:
- Enhancing the academic programs by restoring and updating the single-most identified building on campus, Neville Hall, including the addition of 21st century classrooms and technology.
- Improving the quality of our student housing space by constructing new senior housing and renovating existing residence halls.
- Expanding Springs Campus Center as part of renewing the heart of campus.
- Improving athletic facilities to enhance opportunities for our student athletes.
The Master Plan is not finished. Future steps will include presentations to the faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and recommendations to the Board. As part of the development of the master plan, the current Board and Administration will have to make tough choices concerning the priorities of the College. Our resources will not allow us to pursue every desirable project.
It is important to recognize that prior Boards and Administrations have also had to make hard choices concerning our priorities. Since the construction of Georgia Hall more than 40 years ago, Doyle Hall has not been treated as a high priority. As a result of those decisions during four decades, Doyle Hall has fallen into significant disrepair.
On December 19, 2013, the City of Clinton condemned Doyle. Leaving the building in its current deteriorating condition is a safety hazard for the residents of Georgia Hall, visitors to Springs Campus Center, and the rest of the campus community. Simply stabilizing the building in its current state is impractical.
The Trustees take seriously their fiduciary responsibilities to the College. This requires that the Board make tough, carefully considered decisions on behalf of PC. These decisions seldom please everyone. Yet the Trustees—most of whom are alumni themselves—are entrusted with the challenge of balancing competing demands for resources while ensuring that PC maintains its commitment to outstanding academic and student life programs.
The decision to remove Doyle Hall was not made lightly. Many of the recent communications received from interested alumni do not reflect awareness of the facts and careful consideration leading to the decision to remove Doyle. For that, we accept responsibility. We clearly underestimated the passion for engagement in the process of setting priorities for our school. You want more dialogue about PC’s future, and we will deliver on that.
In the spirit of fostering this dialogue, we will postpone removing Doyle until the PC community has had a greater opportunity to comment on the initial work on the updated Master Plan. In the coming months, we plan to hold information sessions on the proposed master plan in Atlanta, Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville/Spartanburg. We hope that alumni will use these opportunities to engage their PC passion and affection as we plan for PC’s future.
You have both the Board’s and the Administration’s commitments that our planning processes will be accompanied by robust communication. It does not mean we will always have 100 percent agreement. We will strive to share the challenges and upcoming opportunities confronting the College, obtain your input, and earn your continued support.
G. Patrick Phillips, Chairman
Board of Trustees of Presbyterian College