Marian University will break ground Saturday on a space President Dan Elsener says the school is needed "to build a leader." The $35 million Center for Student Success in Life, Learning and Leadership will include a dining hall, fitness center, learning space and an arena and convocation center. Elsener says the school will also use the facility "on a practical level," saying Marian is on pace to double annual graduates by 2025. Phase one is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.

During an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Elsener said the center is part of a larger $50 million investment, including $15 million in scholarships. He says the school has already raised $20 million toward the effort.

Elsener says the project is part of Marian University’s effort to build an experience on campus beyond the classroom. He says it’s important to have spaces on campus where people can gather and learn from each other.

Marian reported a record 383 first-time, full-time freshmen this academic year, which is a 26 percent increase over last year and a 19 percent over the previous record set in 2008. The school is estimating enrollment at more than 3,000 students, up from its previous record of 2,900, set last academic year.

In May, the school broke ground on a building that will be the new home of the Byrum School of Business. The $7 million facility is also expected to be complete in December 2017. At the time, Marian said the project was part of an effort to "support the school’s unique, experiential approach to learning." Last month, the university merged its former School of Liberal Arts and School of Mathematics and Sciences have been combined into the College of Arts and Sciences.

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