For the first time in nearly 100 years, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has opened a new residence hall. President Dottie King led a ribbon cutting this week for the $15 million Les Bois Hall, which also features a new dining hall, market, and bookstore on the Vigo County campus. The residence hall will have room for nearly 100 students and King says the project is serving as a catalyst for growth.
King discussed the project and other additions to the college in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
“Les Bois” is French for “The Woods,” and King says the name is an homage to the college’s roots of being founded by French nuns. The college says the residence hall brings the total number of beds on campus to nearly 400.
“I’m a little afraid, though,” said King. “I thought with the first residence hall in 100 years, we thought this would hold us for quite a while and we’re already counting beds how soon before we need another one.”
King says the college has implemented new strategies to attract students to campus such as the addition of more athletics programs and updates to campus. Among those additions is a new doctoral program in global leadership, which King says is part of an effort to diversify the college’s offerings.
“We’ve been very successful with master’s level programs and so, it was the logical next step,” said King. “We looked around and used research [for] one of the needs in our country that we can best address and we came up with global leadership.”
King says the addition of athletics programs, including men’s basketball, men’s volleyball and sprint football has been key to the college’s growth. She adds the growth they’ve seen across the board appears to be sustainable.
“We don’t see a spike in any one area and therefore, I think the growth is sustainable because we’re just doing a lot of things better. I think we will continue to add graduate programs – masters or doctoral programs. The nursing program was added a few years ago and has been a strong major. We have a Master’s of Science in nursing that prepares family nurse practitioners and I could see another program coming out of the nursing area.”
The new dining hall inside Les Bois Hall, the Barbara Doherty Dining Center, was blessed in May and features food offerings from new vendor Bon Appétit, which was chosen as the college’s new vendor in the spring.