Morthland College Breaks Ground on First Dorms

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By Nick Hausen
By Jared Roberts

WEST FRANKFORT --  Morthland College reached a major milestone Wednesday as the private Christian college in West Frankfort broke ground on a new dormitory that will eventually house 68 students.

"They're going to put up a multi-million dollar complex on the property that was once an eyesore," explained Mayor Tom Jordan.

The site of the old UMWA Hospital in West Frankfort will become Morthland College's first dormitory, Adam's House. Once completed, it will address the housing shortage the school's encountered as enrollment grows.

"It became an issue over the last two years where we saw students coming from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, California, and Oregon, and we really began to tackle the problem," said Morthland College President Tim Morthland.

Wednesday's groundbreaking came less than 24 hours after Morthland leaders named a new developer for the project. The college parted ways with original developer Capstone after a disagreement over ownership of the land. Now, Brad McMillin, a West Frankfort native, will take over.

"We not only will build good, adequete housing for their students, but we'll maintain it as well and would like to grow with them and work with them with all their needs in housing," explained McMillin.

The city of West Frankfort and Capstone were in negotiations on a TIF agreement prior to the developer change. A deal was never reached, but the city wants to help Morthland if it's feasible.

"The city always wants to stand behind businesses that want to come into our community, but there's a point where we can only go so far," said Mayor Jordan. "We can't give you more money than we're going to make on the project."

Both the mayor and Morthland officials hope this is the first of many new dormitories as the college continues to grow.

Construction on the $3 million dollar project will begin in October. The new dorms are set to open in the Fall of 2015.

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