MCPHERSON, Kan. (KSNW) — This has been a good year for McPherson College, and it plans to pay it forward to students. The school has announced three major building projects plus money to reduce student debt.

McPherson College announced the contribution of $3 million toward its Student Debt Project, which provides matching funds for students who hold jobs while attending school. The school says it has one of the lowest average student-debt-at-graduation rates among four-year colleges and universities in Kansas.

The college says nearly 40% of its students were engaged in the Student Debt Project during the last school year, and almost 60% percent of participants had less than $2,000 in debt by the end of the last semester.

The other part of Tuesday’s announcement is what the school is calling a “campus of the future,” funded partly by a successful $55 million capital campaign.

McPherson College released renderings of three building projects: Campus Commons, the Boiler House and the Holman Center for Athletics.

  • Campus Commons — This will be the new “front door” to the campus. It will include a student welcome center, a dining facility, a coffee shop, a store, administrative offices, career services, and a state-of-the-art event venue. In addition, a three-story atrium will have classic cars suspended from the ceiling. The display celebrates the college’s Automotive Restoration degree program.
  • Boiler House — This building is a repurposing of the school’s existing utility building to create a “college hangout for the next generation,” including an indoor-outdoor space, yard games, fire-pits, a large outdoor screen and stage area.
  • Homan Center for Athletics — This will be a modernized expansion of the existing sports facility.

A school spokesperson said the renovations have already begun on the athletic complex. The other project timelines are still being determined.

McPherson College says the buildings have one thing in common: they are built around how students learn and live in the 21st century, giving them the resources and support to do their best work.

In addition to the buildings, nearly half of the $55 million in new funding will directly support educational initiatives on campus, such as student scholarships, Health Science, Automotive Restoration, and other academic programs and growth areas.

“This is a truly momentous announcement for McPherson College, and nobody deserves it more than our hardworking students, faculty, and staff,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said in a news release. “We are changing the face of our campus in a way that puts the needs of our students first and prepares them for the future, thanks to the tremendous support we have received from across the country.”

In May, Dr. Richard Lundquist, a California philanthropist, donated a 1972 Enzo Ferrari, valued at more than $600,000, to the school’s Auto Restoration Program.

Later in May, Lundquist and his wife Melanie donated $25 million to the college for the Building Community Campaign. The gift completed the campaign, and it helped attract other donors.

“When I first learned about McPherson College through my interest in classic cars, I was immediately inspired by the sincerity and work ethic of the students and the way they were empowered by the culture on campus,” Lundquist said. “It felt right to make this special place our first significant philanthropic investment outside our home state and shine more light on the magic happening on the Plains.”

“I am very proud that the most forward-thinking college town is in the middle of the country,” McPherson Mayor Tom Brown said. “I have a feeling this is not the last time McPherson College will be making news. Great things are ahead for our college and our city.”

McPherson College has more than 800 students enrolled. The school offers more than 30 undergraduate degree programs.