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LTC Breaks Ground on Statesmen Park

Lincoln Trail College launched its 50-year anniversary celebration with a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Statesmen Park complex. Once complete, Statesmen Park will be home to 2 NJCAA soccer fields for Men’s & Women’s Soccer, a softball complex and a training and conditioning facility for student-athletes. More than 250 guests, including alumni, current and retired faculty and staff, elected officials from local, county and state levels, and dozens of community members were on hand to talk about future plans for the growth of the college.

For LTC President Dr. Ryan Gower, Statesmen Park is a part of a broader vision for how the college will serve the local community over the next 50 years. “We all know that the most vibrant institutions of higher education are situated in places where people – whether they are from Crawford County, Indiana, or from further regions yet - can envision themselves coming to learn, live and work. We will continue to build on our history of academic excellence while also developing our capacity to enrich the quality of life for all residents of District 529.”

It’s a vision that area residents are getting excited about. “It’s all beginning to take shape,” says LTC Foundation Executive Director Rod Harmon. “All the things we have added to campus over the last few years have a purpose. Pre-kindergarten, the United Way and Twin Rivers on the north campus. Our community education courses on nights and weekends. Expanding our theater, expanding our athletic programs and adding the new recreation center. Soon we will be the place you come if you want to earn a degree, get healthier, appreciate culture, or learn just for learning sake.”

The decision to add men’s and women’s soccer was a response to growing community interest in the sport. “There is no question that the addition of new programs – academic or athletic – helps us reach new markets to meet enrollment and revenue targets,” says Gower. “But this decision was born out of interest from our local community where soccer is growing in popularity. I hope some of this homegrown talent will choose to study and compete here, but I know that these fields and the athletes we recruit will be a valuable resource to area youth.”

The plans for expanding athletic, wellness and performing arts facilities on campus is central to the college’s mission of delivering exceptional education and improving the quality of life for local residents. The new spaces and programming give people of all ages and backgrounds a reason to be on campus. The additional traffic on campus will create an opportunity to raise awareness about the college while also creating new revenue streams that can be used to support academic or student services programming.

“You have to take a look at the long-range view to understand,” says Gower. “As the college continues to innovate in our classrooms, and as we continue to pursue activities that improve the quality of life for residents, our relevance to our communities will only increase. The College already plays an integral role in developing a highly trained workforce that has the knowledge, skills, and abilities local employers need. But we can do better. As projects like Statesmen Park, Theater Renaissance and the Crawford County Recreation Center come together, it will be easier for our local industries to recruit and retain talent. It will also make it easier for us to keep the next generation of residents here at home working in the base jobs we are fortunate to have. It is not unrealistic or inappropriate to think about our college as a catalyst for this type of change.”

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