On Friday, Nov. 16, the sale of the building was completed, transferring ownership of the facility from the Romano and Demirjian families of Decatur to the university at a price much less than the cost of the new construction originally considered.
“The Romano and Demirjian families are pleased to provide this asset to Millikin University. We know it is a milestone that supports the continued advancement of academic programming for years to come,” said Kara Demirjian Huss, president of DemirCo Properties.
Millikin officials originally planned to build an addition to Griswold Physical Education Center to house the academic programs for the growing exercise science and sport department at a projected cost of more than $13 million. However, the Demirjian and Romano families stepped forward to offer the West Towne Square facility as a bargain sale gift to Millikin, allowing the university to obtain an even larger facility at a significantly lower cost of $3 million. The university will continue to raise funding in support of the interior renovation, remodeling and the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment, which is estimated to be an additional $2.5-$3 million.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Demirjian and Romano families, Millikin can look forward to a spacious new facility for our students in exercise science and sport, while also focusing exclusively on athletics activities within Griswold Physical Education Center,” said Dave Brandon, interim vice president for alumni and development.
As the project continues to build momentum, there is still much work to be done. Although some businesses are staying indefinitely in West Towne Square, including Millikin’s PipeDreams student-run theatre company and Student Programming and Entertainment Center (SPEC), extensive renovations will be required to transform the space allocated for the exercise science and sport department. In addition, curriculum-specific equipment must be purchased to provide the department’s students with optimal performance learning opportunities. As a result, the alumni and development team will continue their fundraising efforts for the facility within the
“Transform MU” capital campaign. To date, $60 million has been raised toward the $85 million goal since the campaign was announced in spring 2010.
To learn more about the Exercise Science and Sport Pavilion project and the “Transform MU” campaign, visit www.millikin.edu/transform.