SEU Marks Record Enrollment with Multiple New Facilities
Southeastern University was recently recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education among the top 10 fastest growing private baccalaureate colleges in the nation as enrollment continues to climb for the fourth straight year in a row. Enrollment increased by nearly 20 percent this fall compared to 2014-15 and has increased by almost 60 percent since 2011-12. More than 4,500 students are currently enrolled, and the university welcomed the largest freshman cohort in its history -- 1,059 students.
Dr. Kent Ingle, Southeastern University president, credits the growth to "SEU's ability to provide education through new and innovative ways by providing need-based education that is affordable and accessible to students all around the world."
In addition to the growth in enrollment, the university is also in the midst of a major expansion of its facilities and programming. In the fall of 2014, a 3,500-seat football stadium was completed as the Fire introduced football into its athletic programming.
This fall another new facility opened to support the university's College of Natural and Health Sciences.
The 27,000-square-foot facility includes a 120-seat auditorium, patient exam and care rooms, general labs, chemistry labs, and a nursing stimulation lab. The nursing stimulation lab includes realistic patient stimulators that blink and have heartbeats that enable students to take their blood pressure, listen to their heartbeats, and hook up IVs.
Dr. Brian Carroll, executive vice president, explains, "We've been extremely intentional in our growth and in thinking through our design."
Recently, another new facility opened its doors to SEU students, a choral rehearsal hall with state-of-the-art acoustical design. This new facility serves as a collaborative space for the music department, including performing ensembles such as the Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Women's Choir, Jazz Band and various music courses. In addition to the rehearsal space, the hall includes 305 square feet of storage space for concert percussion instruments and for SEU's new drumline, called Fireline.
The hall is the first segment of a larger $22 million project incorporating two four-story buildings that will anchor the College of Arts and Media and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The 125,000-square-foot facility will include classrooms, faculty offices, and a food court. The top two floors of both wings will be dedicated to student housing and provide an additional 365 beds. Completion is slated for August 2016.
And that's just the beginning.
An additional $2 million in construction is underway for Southeastern's Student Activity Center, which is expanding to incorporate a gymnasium. The new facility will enable the university to offer men's wrestling. Completion is scheduled for December 2016.
This November, construction will begin on a three-story Administration and Athletic Operations Building. The $7 million facility will be situated next to the school's football stadium and will encompass 44,000 square feet of executive offices, conference rooms, a training and workout center, and a multi-purpose hospitality area with full kitchen service and additional stadium seating.
The university also is slated to debut a $1 million, eight-lane, NCAA-regulation track-and-field facility surrounding the recently completed soccer complex.
As Southeastern adds facilities, it has also added nontraditional classes (such as online coursework) and new majors, including a degree in kinesiology, which is the study of human movement, and a master's degree of divinity.
Because parking space is getting tight, the university anticipates building a $6 million to $8 million parking garage with space for 400 vehicles. It will be located near the stadium and open sometime in 2017 or 2018.
The projects will be paid for with a blend of reserve funds, loans, and contributions.
With total enrollment this year at an all-time high, Southeastern is shooting to boost enrollment to 10,000 over the next five years, said Carroll.