Lindenwood University announced Thursday that its new men's dorm building under construction on West Main Street across the street from its Belleville campus will be named in honor of donor Fred J. Kern.
"Having a dorm named after my dad is pretty exciting," St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said during a gathering of school, city, county and university leaders.
While Lindenwood University-Belleville campus president Jerry Bladdick praised the Kern family for their help creating and building up the school, Mark Kern called turning an abandoned high school into a thriving college a "real community effort."
It was not revealed how much the Kern family donated to the project.
The men's dorm is the second new student residence hall for Lindenwood Belleville. A women's dorm opened on the west side of the campus last year. The two buildings, which will cost a total of about $8 million and provide about 50,000 square feet of space, will be able to hold about 400 students.
The ceremony was a chance to get leaders from Lindenwood's St. Charles main campus over to the metro-east to see the progress on the halfway built residence hall.
Lindenwood University System President James Evans, who pushed to see the Belleville campus go from a night school to a full service, full-time day school, marveled at the progress.
"It's hard to believe that this beautiful, high quality day college started up less than five years ago," Evans said. "We're pleasantly surprised by how quickly it has grown."
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