The college and foundation announced their plans Monday at a ceremony behind the now-vacant apartment building, at the corner of Broad and South Greenwood streets.
Construction will begin soon to renovate the 75-year-old building at 301 Broad St. as housing for a new LaGrange College Servant Scholars Residential Honors Program, which will focus on interdisciplinary courses and an extended community-service learning project, said college President Dan McAlexander.
Students in the new program, slated to begin in 2012, will be chosen not only for their academics and leadership skills, but for their community-mindedness and desire to serve.
“Participants will be juniors and seniors, making the initiative distinctive among honors programs, which are often aimed at first-year students,” he said.
McAlexander thanked Callaway Foundation for its gift to the college.
“What an amazing gift,” he said. “I cannot think of words to express our gratitude for your vision.”
The building includes four stories, which includes the basement. The first two floors will be renovated to include a total of eight two-bedroom units, and the third floor will be eight one-bedroom units.
The basement will include space for the community, including four multipurpose rooms, a kitchen and lounge. In the back of the building will be a landscaped yard with sunken garden and a landscaped parking lot.
The foundation purchased the foreclosed property, which includes the adjoining Goodwill Donation Center on Vernon Street, for $400,000 in December 2009, said foundation President Speer Burdette. The renovation project will include removing the Goodwill site, which will be replaced by a landscaped parking and green space.
Batson-Cook Co. in West Point will be the general contractor.
It wasn’t until after the purchase that the foundation learned the apartments were built by the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, a spinoff of the Fuller E. Callaway Foundation, which did plans for the building. Ivey & Crook served as the original architects, and Newman Construction Co. was general contractors.
“People needed a place to live” when the apartments were built in 1936, said Kaye Minchew of the Troup County Archives. “The only apartments were the Render Apartments on Church Street, or you had boarding houses. It was part of the foundation’s civic involvement – there was a need in town and they stepped up to meet it.”
Burdette said Callaway Foundation’s history of enhancing the college’s buildings and programs dates to 1950, when it gave LaGrange College a $25,000 grant. Since then, the foundation’s gifts to the college have totaled more than $45 million in grants.
“We are always looking for ways to strengthen the campus and community relationship,” Burdette said. “What better way than to bring this grand old building back to life and house some of the college’s brightest students?”
Natalie Shelton can be reached at nshelton@ lagrangenews.com or (706) 884-7311, Ext. 229.