JSU compiles wish list for $35.1 million fundraising campaign
by Laura Gaddy
lbjohnson@annistonstar.com
May 05, 2013 | 7525 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mason Hall on the campus of Jacksonville State University (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
Mason Hall on the campus of Jacksonville State University (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
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Jacksonville State University has picked the projects it wants to pay for with a major fundraising campaign. The price tag: $35.1 million.

Atop the wish list are a $10 million music performance hall, $4 million for endowed scholarships, $2.6 million for improved athletic facilities and $2.5 million for classroom technology upgrades.

The capital campaign’s goals also include raising $8 million in commitments to the JSU Foundation in donors’ estates and $5 million in gifts to be spent on immediate needs, rather than on enlarging the university’s endowment.

The campaign’s aims might shift depending on what the university hears from donors who write the checks, an official said.

“We go out with these priorities and as we discuss these priorities most of them will be funded; some of them won’t be funded,” said Charles Lewis, JSU’s vice president for institutional advancement.

Lewis said most capital campaigns end up funding about 70 percent of the projects they prioritize in the early phases of the campaign. He added that about 30 percent of the money raised in the capital campaign typically goes to projects donors identify as needs.

The university hopes to raise the money over about five years, Lewis said. The campaign is so new, he said, that officials haven’t determined when to begin counting donations.

JSU’s board of trustees approved the campaign with a vote in April. Board member Randy Owen, also frontman for the country music group Alabama, pledged $10,000 at the trustees’ meeting.

The university in October began surveying alumni, business owners and other potential donors about the priorities for the campaign, asking them to choose their favored projects from among a list of suggestions.

The music performance hall has the largest price tag of the items on the university’s list. The current performance center in Mason Hall is small compared to the facilities at other universities; it lacks a stage.

“There’s always been this vision to build something larger with the acoustics,” Lewis said. “We will be looking at building a larger recital hall that will be much more suitable to musical performance.”

Lewis said JSU still needs to raise the money before construction can begin on the hall, but said the university will likely develop plans to show donors.

The capital campaign is the university’s third. The first raised about $5 million in the mid-1990s. The second campaign ended in 2008, JSU’s 125th anniversary, and raised about $31 million. That was $6 million more than the campaign’s $25 million goal, Lewis said.

The public may not hear much from JSU about the fundraising effort until it reaches at least 50 percent of its goal, which could take 18 months to two years, Lewis said. After that so-called “leadership phase” the campaign will become more public, with the university seeking donations from a broader pool of givers, he said.

Initial priorities:

— $10 million: music performance hall

— $8 million: Giving through estates

— $5 million: immediate needs

— $4 million: endowed scholarships

— $2.6 million: athletics facilities improvements

— $2.5 million: classroom technology

— $1.5 million: academic program improvements

— $1.5 million: athletic programs.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.
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