MOUNT OLIVE - University of Mount Olive will soon have a new venue for cultural events as well as an expanded area to house approximately 50 additional students. Thanks to a gift from Progress Energy valued at $2.5 million, University of Mount Olive is the recipient of the Mount Olive Historic Assembly Hall and Apartment Complex located at 207 Wooten Street in Mount Olive. According to Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kevin J. Jean, the gift has been in the works for approximately nine months and officially came to fruition in December of 2011.
“We are very thankful to Progress Energy for this very generous gift and to the leadership of the town of Mount Olive for their collaborative efforts in helping us secure this property,” Jean said. “This gift will enable the College to expand our cultural arts offerings for our students and the community. It will also provide much needed space to house our growing traditional student body.”
At his inauguration address in March of 2010 President of University of Mount Olive Philip P. Kerstetter spoke on his many goals for the College. Among those priorities was growing the College’s traditional enrollment from the size of 800 students to that of 1,250 to 1,500 students. To that end he said, “We will need to examine how we will expand our residential housing, have the facilities needed to deliver high quality academic and co-curricular programs, and maintain economic access to students from our service regions. This will require us to actively and aggressively seek funds from others to assist us.”
The gift from Progress Energy is one step toward growing the traditional enrollment.
Constructed in 1925, the Mount Olive High School Apartments and Assembly Hall is one of only four structures within the city limits of Mount Olive to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The 39,310 feet structure sits on 2.0 acres of land. Included in the Mount Olive School Apartments are nine, one bedroom apartments ranging from 600 to 747 square feet and ten, two bedroom apartments ranging from 800 to 935 square feet.
According to Vice President for Student Development Dan Sullivan, the College is honoring all current lease agreements and is working with the current residents as they transition to other housing. “As current residents matriculate out, University of Mount Olive students will move in,” Sullivan said.
The College anticipates having an open house for the auditorium portion of the facility this summer. The 430 seat auditorium features 26 foot ceilings, a wrap-around balcony and a 28 foot stage.
“We look forward to utilizing the auditorium for college and community functions,” President Kerstetter said. “We are already planning to have this year’s Christmas by Candlelight event in the auditorium. Other events could include community movie nights, musical performances, plays, pageants, and the list goes on. We are extremely grateful for this generous gift from Progress Energy and look forward to utilizing the space to its fullest potential.”
University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.
(L-R) Pictured in front of the Historic Assembly Hall and Mount Olive School Apartments are University of Mount Olive Vice President for Student Affairs Dan Sullivan, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kevin J. Jean, President Philip P. Kerstetter, and Town Manager Charles Brown.