JBU Announces Cathedral Renovation

Siloam Springs, Ark. (September 7, 2006) — John Brown University is pleased to announce that the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla. has given a $1 million challenge grant to kick off the fundraising efforts for major renovations to the historic Cathedral of the Ozarks, Art building and Engineering building on JBU’s main campus. The renovations to the three buildings, commonly called the Cathedral Group, will cost an estimated $6 million. JBU has until July 2007 to complete the $6 million fundraising effort for this project in order to receive the Mabee gift.

To date, JBU has completed 42 percent of their $6 million renovation goal. In addition to the Mabee challenge, the Chapman Trusts have pledged a lead gift of $1.5 million toward the project.

“The Cathedral Group is at the heart of our campus, and they are buildings in which we have engaged students for over fifty years in the intellectual, spiritual and professional challenge of university life,” said JBU President Charles W. Pollard. “We look forward to restoring them for new generations of JBU students, and we deeply appreciate the Mabee and Chapman foundations for their lead commitments toward this project.”

Constructed from 1945-1957, the neo-Gothic-style cathedral project was never truly finished due to insufficient funds. Originally, the cinder block construction was to be covered with a stone face to preserve the exterior as well as give the buildings a distinctive look on campus. However, decades of sun, rain, ice and sleet have taken their toll on the exposed cinder blocks.

To preserve the future of the Cathedral Group, JBU is raising funds to renovate the buildings, complete the external surfaces, and fulfill the vision that was started 50 years ago. In addition to providing for the stone surfaces, the funds raised will allow JBU to remodel interior classrooms and offices, further preserve the Cathedral’s stained glass windows, replace the roofs of all three buildings, update the heating and air conditioning systems, install new restroom facilities in the Cathedral, and make other necessary repairs.

“We are very grateful for the lead gifts that the Chapman Trusts and Mabee Foundation have made to the renovation of these three buildings,” Dr. Jim Krall, vice president for university advancement, said. “We look forward to this next year as alumni and friends of JBU support preserving these important historical buildings on the JBU campus.”

If you have any questions about this campaign or would like to contribute, contact Jim Krall in University Advancement at (479) 524-7145.

John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked sixth by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU enrolls more than 2,000 students from 41 states and 46 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.