Cedarville University begins construction on business center, plans for more student housing

CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University has begun construction on the $40 million Scharnberg Business Center, the centerpiece of the private, Christian university’s long-term efforts to improve its facilities, as the university plans even more student housing.

The Scharnberg Business Center, which will open in the fall of 2024, is the fifth building to be constructed as a part of Cedarville’s One Thousand Days Transformed campaign, launched in 2021. The 65,000-square-foot building, named after Lorne C. Scharnberg, will house the newly dubbed Plaster School of Business, the communications department, and center for the advancement of cybersecurity, as well as the new Berry Center for Free Enterprise.

The Scharnberg Business Center will be located on Cedar Lake between the Stevens Student Center and the Dixon Ministry Center, a central location that will serve as a “community and academic hub for students,” the university said in an announcement.

In addition to teaching classes required for a business degree, curriculum at the Berry Center for Free Enterprise will focus on the Bible, the right to private property, and hard work, said University President Thomas White.

“At Cedarville University, we don’t believe that socialism works. We believe in a free enterprise system,” White said. “We believe that is the best system to allow human flourishing and to allow students to be able to move up in the economic ladder.”

Estimated costs to build the Scharnberg Center have jumped by roughly $8 million due to inflation and labor costs, White said. The difference would be made up by “undesignated” donations towards the capital campaign, university leadership previously told the Dayton Daily News.

Cedarville trustees also recently approved building even more student housing, citing growing enrollment. In August, the university opened the $7.5 million Duane Wood Residence Hall, which will house 108-120 women, and Cedarville has a 120-bed dorm under construction, White said. The university will be adding another dorm with 300 beds the following fall.

The two new residence hall projects are separate from the university’s capital campaign, and do not yet have a price tag, White said.

“We are up over 5,000 students now for the first time in history,” he said. “We are up in our freshman class over 17% year over year with another record enrollment, which has been really good.”

To date, the university has raised $114.5 million toward the $125 million goal of the One Thousand Days campaign. Of that, $92.5 million is dedicated to improving university facilities. Other projects include a $7 million dining hall and community space, and the $3 million Civil Engineering Center, both built in 2020.

In August, Cedarville opened the $8 million expansion to its Callan Athletic Center, adding new athletic facilities, as well as new classrooms, labs, and administrative centers. The university is also planning another classroom building on the east side of campus near State Route 72.

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