FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Francis Marion University’s Board of Trustees meeting was held Thursday. In a segment of the meeting, the schools master plan was discussed with announcements about an Honors Learning Center.
“We feel like it’s time that we have a special place on campus for our honors students,” explains FMU Executive Director of Public Affairs, Tucker Mitchell.
School officials say the proposed Honors Learning Center will support the fast-growing honors program. The state of the art facility would house the University’s School of Business, Education, and the International program.
“There are about 200 hundred students already on campus and we think it will be a lot more in the future and so we feel like they needed this kind of space,” says Mitchell. “One of the highlights is our exchange program, we have 19 exchange partners around the world with most of them in Europe.”
The estimated $3.1 million building is set to begin construction within the next three years. At this time, school officials say $700,000 of the money has already been acquired through the state and private grants.
“Plans are always to raise the money and then build the building, not borrow the money and have our students carry that debt load,” explained Mitchell.
The goal of the project is to welcome a more diverse student body to the FMU campus and to grow the international program.
A 3% tuition increase was also confirmed at the board meeting Thursday, but that hike is not related to the new learning center, the school says. Officials say the increase will help fund the start-up costs for FMU’s new Speech Pathology program and to cover rising employee healthcare and retirement benefits mandated by the state.