WILMINGTON, Ohio — Wilmington College is getting a face lift and it has the USDA to thank for funding.
The college received a $19.7 million loan from the USDA Rural Housing and Community Facilities division. The funds will be used to refurbish and reconstruct Kettering Hall, home to the college’s agriculture programs.
The hall was built in 1960 but has not had major improvements since then.
According to Randy Sarvis, director of public relations at Wilmington College, the three-story building lacks air conditioning and does not meet the needs of the college’s agriculture and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.
Kettering Hall will be updated with the construction of new biology, chemistry and agriculture labs, a food production kitchen, and meeting space designed to be shared with the Wilmington community at large.
The building’s existing 34,100 square footprint will undergo the addition of air conditioning, the removal of asbestos-laden floor tiles and pipe insulation, and installation of LEED-certified efficiencies like a reflective roof, which will help lower maintenance and operation costs.
The two-story, 15,000 square foot addition is designed to blend in with the architectural design of the original building and neighboring Boyd Auditorium for the Performing Arts.
At completion, the green building will be 100 percent ADA-compliant.
Wilmington College President Jim Reynolds believes the funds will have a positive effect on the science and agriculture programs.
“As of this fall, agriculture became the largest program. Traditionally, education was the leader, but it was eclipsed this fall,” said Sarvis.
The agriculture program has majors in agriculture business, agronomy, animal science, equine studies, plant, environmental and soil science, a production concentration and a teacher licensure in vocational agriculture.
Sarvis added that within six months of graduation, 99 percent of the college graduates either have jobs in their field or are pursuing higher education.
The college was founded in 1870 under the auspices of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Wilmington College strives to offer an academic education while placing an emphasis on the values of community and responsibility.