By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
Spalding University, whose campus stretches along several city blocks in downtown Louisville, announced last Friday, May 10, that it plans to expand with the acquisition of a 40,000-square-foot building at 981 S. Third St.
The Republic Bank Academic Center, located at the corner of Third and Kentucky Streets, will house five classrooms, six instructional labs and 40 faculty offices.
During an outdoor press conference on the rainy afternoon of May 10, Spalding President Tori Murden McClure welcomed about 100 spectators to Spalding’s “newest corner.”
Noting that the university’s new building is a former creamery, McClure said, “Where once this building sustained the community with food, Spalding will now use the building to sustain people with opportunity and knowledge.”
McClure said that a “generous donation” from Republic Bank and it’s chairman and CEO Steve Trager made the acquisition and planned renovation of the former Cosmopolitan Building possible.
She said that Spalding and Republic Bank share a “synergy of service” and that both are dedicated to improving the community.
The press conference was attended by Trager and a handful of elected officials, including Rep. John Yarmuth and Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer. Representatives of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCNs) also attended the ceremony. The SCNs, based in Nazareth, Ky., near Bardstown, Ky., founded the school. The university now bears the name of the sisters’ foundress, Mother Catherine Spalding.
Renovations in the new academic center are expected to be complete by the Spring of 2014.
The expansion was prompted by a 46 percent growth in the student body over the last five years, according to a press release from Spalding. The school reported a record number of students — 2,515 — enrolled at the university last fall.
The university’s press release also noted that Spalding has “launched a campus greening initiative” in the past year. The school is working with Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District to control rainwater runoff and prevent flooding around its downtown campus.
The project included the creation of Mother Catherine Spalding Square, a “green space” where grass, shrubs and trees have been planted and can absorb the runoff. It’s located on
Breckenridge Street adjacent to Spalding’s Egan Leadership Center between Third and Fourth Streets.