Aquinas College President, Sister Mary Sarah, O.P., announced today the College’s plans to purchase the Welch College campus property, located in the historic Richland-West End neighborhood in Nashville. Aquinas College and Welch College have entered into negotiations and have signed a letter of intent for the sale of the Welch College property, which includes 13 buildings on eight acres, located less than a mile from the current Aquinas campus.
Associate Provost, Dr. William Smart, said, “The acquisition of the Welch Campus will allow us to quadruple the available space for our students and faculty, and will include all the amenities necessary for a full flourishing of campus life. We will continue to use the current site on the Dominican Campus and are excited for the opportunity to accommodate additional growth at Aquinas College.”
The acquisition and transition for Welch and Aquinas will take 18 months, including a year when both colleges will occupy the Welch Campus property while Welch College builds the first phase of its campus in Gallatin. In June 2014, Aquinas will renovate and occupy four buildings on the campus, and will occupy the total campus in August 2015.
“The Dominican Sisters have lived and worked in this neighborhood since 1923, so we are confident that the transition to the new campus will proceed with consideration for the needs of the Welch College community and the Richland-West End neighborhood,” said Sister Mary Sarah. “We intend to work closely with both communities to ensure the best possible experience for all involved parties. On the Dominican Campus, we are committed to the preservation of open green spaces for our students and the restoration of historic structures to their pristine beauty and will do the same at the new campus, as funds become available.”
This past year, Aquinas College tripled the number of students in its residential life program in just its second year of operation, drawing students from coast to coast. Furthermore, with the addition in 2012 of graduate studies, a House System based on the Oxbridge model and new Center for Faith and Culture and the Center for the Study of Human Dignity and Ethics in Health Care, the expansion of facilities for students is key.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Dr. Matt Pinson, the President of Welch College and his administration,” Sister Mary Sarah, O.P. said. “It demonstrates how people of faith can work together for the common good and for the advancement of both institutions.”
As for the impact on the neighborhood, Dr. Pinson noted, “Welch College has had a wonderful relationship with the community for over 70 years. Knowing Sister Mary Sarah and the character of Aquinas College and the Dominican Order, there should be very little notable difference or impact on the neighborhood.”