Officials with General Shale announced a donation of 250,000 bricks to the proposed fine and performing arts center that East Tennessee State University hopes to build in the near future.
ETSU launched a major arts initiative in February 2013 that included plans to build a $38 million arts center. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has approved $1.5 million in planning monies for the center, and the university has already raised nearly $6 million in matching funds. ETSU will need a total of $9.5 million in matching funds before the project could begin.
"General Shale has been a longtime friend to and supporter of East Tennessee State University," said ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland. "A host of projects, including our Natural History Museum, the carillon, the parking garage, the Warren-Greene Golf Center, our alumni gallery and several of our athletic facilities, were made possible because of their generosity.
"And today, thanks to General Shale, our dream of having a fine and performing arts center – a dream that began on this campus more than a quarter-century ago – is closer to being realized."
In recent years, General Shale has donated approximately 1 million bricks, as well as other materials, to support projects at ETSU.
"General Shale has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with ETSU for many years, and we are proud to step forward and partner with the university in this significant endeavor," says ETSU alumnus and General Shale CEO Dick Green. "This announcement demonstrates that General Shale is committed to supporting ETSU as it strives to generate opportunities for the betterment of its student body and the region."
Noland said the proposed arts center will bring together the visual arts, music, theater, dance, storytelling, poetry readings, film and more, and it will touch both the campus and the region by serving as a venue for community artistic performances and exhibits, national touring productions and other special events.
The arts initiative remains the university's top fundraising priority, he added. A location for the arts center has not been determined.