In celebration of its 25th anniversary in 2020, Martin Luther College (MLC), with the approval of the Conference of Presidents, has begun a two-year capital campaign called “Equipping Christian Witnesses.” The synod is looking to raise $16 to $18 million through the campaign. Part of that money will go toward two new campus facilities: a new residence hall called Luther Heights and a new turfed recreation facility called the Knight Center. We talked to Scott Schmudlach, MLC vice president of administration, to learn more.
Why are these new facilities necessary?
Admissions counselors report that the campus visit is the most important factor in the prospective student’s college decision-making process. Generally, our visitors love the Christ-centered culture of MLC, the beautiful chapel, the well-tended grounds, the welcoming faculty, and the friendly and dedicated students. Our campus facilities, however, are in need of an update! As these visiting prospects walk around campus, the amenities provided in a college residence hall like Luther Heights can make a big impact.
With one of the emphases of this campaign being recruitment, Luther Heights also will provide the rooms needed for the expanding enrollment we are anticipating.
Athletics and physical education are an important part of the MLC experience as well. For many years, however, we have not had adequate athletic space for our student body, our teams, or visiting teams. The Knight Center will expand the physical education curriculum to year-round, allow all spring sports to practice regularly, provide additional locker rooms, and multiply opportunities for health and wellness.
How important are these facilities to current students?
In a 2015 survey, MLC students listed a new residence hall and student gathering spaces as the top needs on campus. Residence halls like Luther Heights are the places where living and learning together occurs. They’re the places of Bible studies and collaborative ministry projects, of personal growth and lifelong friendships.
Hundreds of students use our fitness facilities every day. Hundreds play intramurals. Athletics are an important part of the college experience for many students. And for those students who are studying to be coaches and physical education teachers in WELS schools, athletics and physical education are ministry training.
What about to future students?
Martin Luther College exists in a competitive marketplace. It might be nice if all 18-year-olds looking at MLC were cer-tain they wanted to be pastors or teachers, but many—even most—are not sure. They will choose a college that will help them continue to discover and develop their gifts while they decide their future. We’d like that college to be MLC. We want to show them that we care about the full development of all their God-given gifts, and we will supply the facilities that support that development.
What are MLC’s future facility plans?
With the assistance of Credo, a consulting firm, we developed a master site plan that encapsulates our vision for this campus, even beyond the addition of Luther Heights and the Knight Center. Plans are in place to finish the chapel basement, which will primarily provide additional practice spaces for the music department. A sports complex/fieldhouse in addition to the Knight Center is also identified in our master site plan.
Learn more at mlc-wels.edu/mlc-campaign.
Jared Lindemann, a 2019 graduate of Martin Luther College, served on the Luther Heights Building Committee. He shares how he, as a student, viewed the idea of a new residence hall: “Luther Heights will be great for recruitment because it will be an attractive new building of brick and glass, a comfortable place for recruits to envision themselves living. A huge blessing of being at MLC is the faith all the students and faculty share. One of our professors recently said in chapel that Jesus brings us not only perfect peace with God, but also a degree of peace with fellow believers. Friendship between believers is a great blessing. Luther Heights seems like a place that will promote that Christian friendship and will prepare MLC for more students.”
Volume 107, Number 01
Issue: January 2020