Central Baptist College President Terry Kimbrow announced at a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday, that the school would kick off its capital campaign for growth and improvements with a head start — a $5 million head start.

Kimbrow told attendees that the "transformational" gift from a couple who wished to remain anonymous was the largest single donor commitment in the school’s 60 years.

Conway Corp. also pledged their part in the school’s newly developed vision for 2020 in the amount of $750,000.

Kimbrow said that the breaking of ground on a new academic building on Saturday was the beginning of one of 10 major construction projects in 10 years as the school looks toward a goal of an enrollment of 2,020 students in 2020.

Current enrollment figures are a continuance of a trend, that according to Kimbrow, has made CBC one of the fastest growing private institutions in Arkansas. 

Fall enrollment was 742 students, a 19-percent increase over 2009, and the sixth consecutive year that record numbers were posted.

Before the backdrop of an artistic rendering of the proposed academic building, Kimbrow outlined "Vision 2020: A Miracle in the Making."

The facilities improvement plan includes new parking areas, two new academic buildings, the construction of residence halls, an expansion and renovation that would double the size of the current library and an all-encompassing sports facility.

Sixteen steps in the campus’ revitalization and renovation were developed with Rik Sowell Architects, Inc. of Conway.

Of the conceptual renderings, which were presented in a reception following the groundbreaking, Rik Sowell said that each phase was designed to create a more "inward and intimate campus."

"As the campus expands, we’ll take down old porches and put up new ones that will both tie the buildings together with similar elements, and incorporate the Old Conway context," Sowell said.

Sowell said designs were considerate of the "Old Conway feel" and style of architecture in the surrounding neighborhood.

Conway Mayor Tab Townsell spoke at the ceremony, as well as Brad Lacy, president and CEO of Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, CBC President Terry Kimbrow, Rik Sowell and a prayer was led by Bro. Kenneth Bobo.

Kimbrow said the new, 36,000 square-foot academic building will consist of three floors.

Conway Corp.’s dedication will be directly applied to the first floor of the building, which will house student service and administrative offices.

The second floor will house the school’s Professional Adult College Education, or PACE, program and offices of online studies.

The third floor will be designated for bible studies and missions, Kimbrow said, adding that biblical studies is the school’s largest degree program.

Kimbrow told attendees that the school’s Board of Trustees approved a $5 million campaign last fall, though, the option to increase the goal was included.

As president, Kimbrow said he elected to increase the goal to $12 million.

"We stand here today a little over halfway to our goal. It can happen and you can be a part of it," Kimbrow said.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)