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Building higher education

PROCTORVILLE - As the shovels hit the dirt and the crowd cheered, the dream of Ohio University's new Proctorville Center took another step closer to reality.

A ground breaking ceremony for the Ohio University Proctorville Center was hosted Tuesday afternoon, in front of a crowd of faculty, friends of the university, and other well-wishers who helped to make the center possible.

"I dream big for Proctorville and Ohio University," Stephanie Burcham, director of the Proctorville Center, said during her welcome speech at the event.

Many individuals have worked hard to make the Proctorville Center more than just a dream, officials said. Approximately $1.1 million in property for the center was donated by Marshall Smith; $2.7 million in private funds were raised, as well as $650,000 in pledges and gifts toward the center.

"I just think it's a great thing for the community, the entire community benefits from an educated population," Dr. Douglas J. Freeman, CEO of Quality Care Nursing Service said.

Freeman also pointed out that Ohio University makes it easy for busy people to get an education. Freeman said he believes people will utilize the center because of its convenience.

"I'm proud to be a supporter," he said.

Several faculty members from the university were also in attendance, and many were very excited about the opportunity for both the campus and the community.

"It's an exciting time for Ohio University Southern," Mike Donley, electronic media staff member said. "It's going to be wonderful for the students in this part of the county and the entire community."

Dr. Roderick McDavis, President of Ohio University, congratulated the community for rising to the occasion and making this dream a reality and showing their dedication to higher education.

Ohio University Southern will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2006. The Proctorville Center celebrated its 26th year with the breaking of ground for the new facility.

Dr. Dan Evans, dean of Ohio University Southern, said that the Proctorville Center is the latest in a series of commitments Ohio University has made.

'This is what we call, in Lawrence County, a good day," Dr. Evans said as he addressed the crowd. "It has been many years in the making."