NPC Breaks Ground On First Residence Hall
National Park College (NPC) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the construction
of the first residence hall on the College’s campus. The NPC Board of Trustees met
briefly before the event to approve the building’s official name, Dogwood Hall.
“On behalf of the student body, which I represent, I would like to thank National Park College for listening and responding to the needs of the students,” said Student Government Association (SGA) President, Harris Felton during the ceremony. Survey results indicated more than half of the 586 respondents were ages 17-24, 86 percent of which would consider on-campus housing. One quarter of all respondents commute more than 40 miles each day to attend NPC and 15 percent travel more than 60 miles daily.
Felton expressed his appreciation for being selected to participate with a committee of students, alumni, faculty and staff as part of the naming process. “We discussed all of the natural beauty of this campus, the region, and the state,” he said. The group chose to work with names of trees found in Arkansas. “Trees represent strength, growth, wisdom and knowledge, all qualities of a National Park College student, as well as this College itself.” Dogwood Hall was selected by the team. The dogwood tree symbolizes loyalty, safety, and determination and is associated with new beginnings and renewal.
NPC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Dr. Jerry Thomas said, “We listened to our students and today the College is responding to that need for safe, affordable housing options for students by breaking ground on 49,625 square foot, 180 bed campus housing facility that is scheduled to open in August of 2020. This will be a game changer for our students and for the student success equation. It will have a profound impact on our campus culture. It will change our image, and really transform the students’ experience.”
“It’s very fitting that we named it Dogwood Hall because National Park College is on an upward, growing trajectory, just like a tree,” said NPC Board of Trustees Chair, Forrest Spicher. He explained that the new residence hall would be an opportunity to help retain students in our community. “It’s an opportunity for them to enjoy what Hot Springs and Garland County has to offer, and it’s certainly a springboard opportunity for them to enjoy local, higher paying job opportunities.”
NPC President Dr. John Hogan explained that all of the work taking place on campus is part of a culture of hearing students’ voices. “As part of that culture, we say, ‘What do you want NPC to become’, and we put them in the position of lead architect.” He said, “I am very proud of that. I’m very proud of that more than the physical buildings, more than the Nighthawk logo and all of the other things that are happening around campus. I think today is a victory for our student population, and that is what I will be thinking about as we are taking pictures and breaking ground.”
Pictured left to right is Chief Operating Officer and President of Construction for the Annex Group, Tom Tomaszewski; SGA President, Harris Felton; NPC President, John Hogan; NPC Board of Trustees Joyce Craft, Gail Ezelle, Don Harris, Forrest Spicher, Beverly Joe, Mike Bush, Raymond Wright; Servitas Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, Blair Tavenner; and Servitas Vice President of Asset Management, David Braden. Kacy Mathews has granted National Park College permission to use this photo.