Dr. McCurdy becomes President of Rhodes State College. She says, “In Atlanta we had all of the health programs in one building. Here these programs are scattered all over campus. It would be much more efficient to have them all in one building.”
A Health Sciences building was placed on the campus building plan and budgeted at $12 million.
A short time later Dr. Ellis (chairman of the Rhodes board), states his goal is to place the Health Science building in Lima somewhere between St Rita’s and Lima Memorial Hospitals. The estimate then becomes $20 million.
Suddenly “urban renewal” appears as one of the goals and objectives of the college.
A search for sites is done. A site adjacent to the Public Square is chosen. Options are acquired. The idea of revitalization of downtown Lima (urban renewal) takes hold.
When asked “why build downtown” a trustee allegedly said, “Let’s bring 800 students plus faculty and staff to downtown Lima. Think of all the business those people will generate.”
On campus $12 million vs downtown building $20 million.
On campus no buildings to buy, no buildings to tear down, the land is free. The 800 people have free parking. Extracurricular activities are on campus. The new Student Life Center and student support services all are on campus not downtown.
Downtown requires options, purchase of buildings and land, buildings to be demolished which about doubles the cost of building on campus.
This is great for downtown Lima. Is it wise use of college funds? Will it benefit the students? This has never been mentioned in all of the press about this project the effect on students, faculty and staff.
I hope the benefactors (the merchants and the city) will at least provide parking vouchers for the students, faculty and staff.
Dr. Kenneth Clemens, DDS
Served 30 years on the Rhodes Board of Trustees
Founder and board member of the Rhodes Foundation