On the move
New addition to PAC will house ROTC
After more than 40 years of being tucked away in the basement of the library, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps will be getting a new home late this year.
With permission from Furman, the corps has launched a fund-raising drive to pay for an addition to the Lay Physical Activities Center that will house the program. Specific plans for the addition have not been completed, but they include a large classroom, a reception area, six offices, a lobby, conference room and storage area.
“We are extremely excited about this project,” says Lt. Col. Thomas Nickerson. “This new addition will be adjacent to our training grounds and represents a much more visible location for our program.”
William Gantt, a retired Army major general, will be spearheading the fund-raising drive. Gantt is a 1959 Furman graduate and Greenville businessman.
Wendy Libby, Vice President for Business Affairs, says the projected cost of the addition is $715,000, which includes a $165,000 endowment for maintenance. The fund-raising effort will cover the complete cost of the project.
The addition, which could be completed by Christmas, will adjoin the east (or Paladin Stadium) side of the PAC, which was constructed in 1973. Nickerson says construction will begin after $300,000 has been raised.
The ROTC program has been located in the basement of the James B. Duke Library since the campus was constructed during the 1950s. However, plans for a library expansion and renovation do not include space for the ROTC program. The university examined several possible places to house the department, including the Intercollegiate Athletics Building (old gym), before the fund-raising effort was announced.
ROTC ranked among best in nation
Talk about a rise in rankings.
Furman’s ROTC program was ranked 15th among 270 college and university ROTC programs in the nation in a 1998 survey. Furman’s program was ranked 229 in 1996.
The rankings are compiled and published by Cadet Command, which administers the national ROTC program from Fort Monroe, Va. Cadet Command compiles its rankings from the performance records of cadets attending officer training camps.
Between their junior and senior year, all commissioned officer candidates are required to attend an officer training camp, where they are evaluated on their intelligence, physical stamina and leadership.
Lt. Col. Thomas Nickerson, who took over the ROTC program in 1997, introduced a more rigorous physical training program two years ago. The ROTC staff also spends more individual time working with cadets.
“We work them so hard at Furman so that when they get to the officer training camp, they think it’s a piece of cake,” says Nickerson.
Last year, Furman graduated 14 commissioned officers, the most in recent memory. There are currently 70 students at Furman who participate in the ROTC program.