Groundbreaking for Business and IT Center Marks Monticello Road Revitalization
By Bob Holmes
A ceremonial groundbreaking on International Boulevard at the entrance to Columbia International University, marks a revitalization of the Monticello Road corridor, the gateway to the CIU campus.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin joined with CIU officials to turn the earth for the $20 million William H. Jones Global Business & IT Center.
The Center has four primary goals:
- Educate university students in best practices for Business and IT and how to integrate those skills into the global world.
- Provide a corporate training room for Columbia area business professionals to act as a catalyst for business development.
- Enhance the campus IT functionality and infrastructure for all staff and students.
- Provide a high school “Young Professionals Business/IT Academy” for the students of Ben Lippen School, CIU’s Pre-K to 12th grade Christian school.
The groundbreaking also signals CIU’s commitment to economic development along Monticello Road. Six properties on Monticello Road have been purchased by CIU or are under contract for the purpose of revitalizing the corridor.
Mayor Benjamin says the city of Columbia pledges its support and partnership with CIU for the renewal of the north side of greater Columbia.
“I am excited in just a matter of a few years what this corridor will look like … transformed by men and women of God.” Benjamin said.
CIU President Dr. Mark Smith says the Center will be a hub for regional development as CIU expands its academic program options at the Center and fulfilling CIU’s mission.
“By expanding today with this business and IT center we know that we can only increase our opportunity as we go out to impact the nations for Christ,” Smith said.
The Center is named for CIU’s Chancellor Dr. “Bill” Jones who is known around Columbia for conducting downtown Bible studies with area business professionals. He first came to CIU as a student over three decades ago before served as CIU president from 2007-2017. That’s when he had a vision for expanding CIU academic programs to train not only “professional ministers” such as pastors and missionaries, but also “ministering professionals” who would make an impact in the marketplace.
“When I drove down this boulevard 31 years ago as a doctoral student, never, never did I imagine I would be standing right here with so many friends and family members and Bible study members, and board members and faculty and staff — all of you folks have played a special role in my life,” Jones said. “I’m thankful and very, very grateful for you.”
CIU is experiencing growth in enrollment and has announced $25 million in expansion plans for the campus. CIU is accredited by SACS-COC. Information on CIU programs and enrollment is available here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.