Columbia International University’s Board of Trustees has approved $22 million in facility expansions, including a Business and IT Global Initiative Center.
The center will cost between $15 to $20 million and include a business/corporate training room for Columbia-area business professionals that will provide hands-on learning opportunities for CIU students as well as students of Ben Lippen School.
Mark Smith, CIU president, said that for nearly 100 years, the school has been well-known for training graduates for the ministry. Now, it’s increasing its focus on marketplace academic programs taught with a global perspective, he said.
“It’s important for employees to have the correct value system and a strong work ethic,” Smith said. “There is a direct correlation between a biblical worldview and good citizens. Employers want people who are not only competent in their trade but trustworthy, honest and hard-working.”
Approximately $13 million has been contributed toward the center, and the university is seeking additional donors. The building will be located near the front of the 400-acre campus, located on Monticello Road north of I-20.
CIU is also looking to make the school’s dining facilities a banquet location for the Columbia area with a $2 million renovation.
“We want to do great things for Christ as we take the gospel around the world by training both professional ministers such as pastors and missionaries, as well as ministering professionals – those who make a difference in the marketplace,” Smith said.