BENTONVILLE, AK (Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008) – The NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) Foundation broke ground today on a new 40,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. The Shewmaker Center for Global Business Development will house the College’s business and technology programs and new, innovative programs to serve the northwest Arkansas community.
The estimated $8 million facility will be constructed adjacent to the existing Shewmaker Center for Workforce Technologies. Together, the two-building complex will become known as the “Shewmaker Centers.”
In addition to becoming the new home for NWACC’s business programs, the Shewmaker Center for Global Business Development will house four primary institutes focusing on specific areas of instruction: Retail Institute, Entrepreneurial Studies Institute, Sustainability Institute, and Transportation and Logistics Institute.
“These Institutes will provide our stakeholders and constituents with a unique, one-of-a-kind education and training experience,” said NWACC President Dr. Becky Paneitz. “We will offer a ‘blended’ approach to instruction to help our customers gain the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global world.”
The facility will act as a regional hub for entrepreneurial activity. NWACC is an active participant in the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and has developed an entrepreneurial studies curriculum that is being adopted for statewide use. To date, nine community colleges have partnered with NWACC to support entrepreneurial initiatives throughout Arkansas.
Philanthropy is the funding stream for the Shewmaker Center for Global Business Development. In April 2007 the NWACC Foundation announced a $4 million matching grant from the Walton Family Foundation. One month later, the Jack and Melba Shewmaker family announced a gift of $1.8 million to name the facility.
Many donors have contributed generously to the new facility, yet the fundraising goal has not been met. Approximately $1.3 million remains to be secured by December 31, 2008, to meet the requirements of the Walton Family Foundation matching grant.
“We are grateful to our friends who have made a financial commitment toward the construction of this project,” said David Thrasher, Chairman of the NWACC Foundation. “But we’re not done yet. There is an opportunity for others to step forward to participate.”
NWACC’s enrollment has topped 7,000 credit students, a double-digit increase over last fall’s enrollment. The addition of the Shewmaker Center for Global Business Development is timely as it will provide additional classroom space for the extraordinary growth.
The facility will also become the home to the College’s award-winning Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team. Students participating in SIFE will be able to mentor other students and community members in the John and Emily Douglas Learning Resource Center, a place to find business and entrepreneurial resources.
Construction of the Shewmaker Center for Global Business Development is planned for completion in time for classes in January 2010. For information about educational programming, contact Dr. Donna Wood, Associate Vice President for the Global Business Development Center, at (479) 619-4154. To make a contribution toward the capital campaign, contact Jill Wagar, Associate Vice President for Development, at (479) 619-4321.