October 14, 2015 Edition

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Williams Baptist College President Tom Jones points out to Jim Tom and Connie Belle Butler where the new Belle Hall will be located following a ground-breaking ceremony on Friday. The Butlers made a $500,000 contribution toward the construction of the new residence hall, which will be named for the Belle family.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

WBC breaks ground on Belle Hall

Construction of a new residence hall is about to commence at Williams Baptist College. A ground-breaking ceremony for the 43-bed Belle Hall was held Friday, with completion expected next fall.

"We have reached capacity and are currently utilizing overflow housing for our men, and we are nearing capacity in our women's residence halls. This new facility addresses those issues and allows WBC's resident student population to keep growing," said Williams President Dr. Tom Jones.

The new facility is made possible in part by a $500,000 gift from the Jim Tom Butler family of Harrisburg. Butler is a member of the WBC Board of Trustees, and his family has supported the college for many decades.

The name for Belle Hall comes from his wife, Connie Belle Butler, and her family. The name Belle extends back several generations and has a rich history in her family, she said.

"Our family is honored to be a part of the ongoing progress at Williams Baptist College, and we are humbled that the Lord has allowed us to be the vehicles of this blessing," Mrs. Butler said. "We are simply the messengers the Lord chose to deliver this gift to Williams, and we are thankful for that opportunity."

Jones said women will be housed in Belle Hall, while Nicholas Hall, which currently houses women, will become a men's residence hall next year.

"This arrangement addresses our most immediate need, which is residential space for our male students. Then, we will move female students into the new facility when it is completed later next year," the president said.

The new facility is to be built just south of Nicholas Hall, which is located on Fulbright Ave.

Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge. Of the nearly 500 students enrolled on WBC's main campus, more than 75 percent live in the college's residence halls and apartments.

Clark General Contractors of Walnut Ridge is constructing the facility, while Brackett-Krennerich & Associates Architects of Jonesboro designed the building. Total cost of the project is estimated at $2 million.

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