CLEVELAND – Truett McConnell University is beautifully situated in the mountains of north Georgia and the recent completion and dedication of the new Blaurock Student Wellness Center makes the school a prime destination for those who want to continue their education in a beautiful, wholesome, Christian environment.
In addition to the new 69,000 sq. ft. Student Wellness Center, the school has refurbished their dormitories, acquired eight condominiums, added over 200 new parking spaces and, in essence, significantly enhanced the University’s campus.
The SWC includes a 1/8 mile walking track; a state-of-the-art fitness center; a beautiful, massive leisure pool; two racquetball courts; three full-sized basketball courts; and an aerobics classroom offering an array of classes including circuit training, R.I.P.P.E D. cardio dance and low impact cardio. The new facility also has an office suite named after Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director J. Robert White.
The basketball court to be used for the TMU Bears has a seating capacity of 1,250. Beginning in October, it will also serve as the location for the University’s chapel services and can accommodate 1,800 people by putting chairs on the floor.
The facility also provides students and guests with a new dining venue, The Georgia Public House, providing the students with a new option for dining and fellowship.
The Georgia Public House, a farm-to-table restaurant, will offer a healthy casual dining experience with seating located inside the restaurant and along the balcony overlooking the racquetball courts and indoor leisure pool. The new restaurant will compliment the SWC fitness, swimming, and athletic features by providing healthy dining options.
“I’m excited about having a new place to hang out,” said Maggie Reeves, a junior and World Missions major at TMU. “I’ll be able to study, grab a bite to eat, and work out all in one location.”
A place to be proud of
Mike Dorough, lead pastor of Riverbend Baptist Church in Gainesville and a member of the Board of Trustees, shared how the new SWC will “propel us into the future. The experts have told us over the years that if you don’t have something to keep the student here, you won’t be able to grow the school. Now, they have a place they can hang out and be proud of.”
Evangelist and Board of Trustee member Bucky Kennedy, thrilled about the opening, said, “It’s a place where students can [gather], exercise, and fellowship with one another. I think it takes TMU from being a ‘suitcase college’ to being a more effective university campus where students don’t have to leave to go find something to do. They can find it right here.”
Although students are the primary members of the facility, the SWC will also be made available to alumni, visitors, pastors and community members through a variety of membership options.
At the dedication ceremony on Aug. 19, Chris Eppling, vice president of Student Services, opened the celebratory event with prayer and the recognition of attendees.
Emir Caner, TMU president, thanked donors who made the building project possible. He stated, “On behalf of the students, I simply want to say ‘thank you’ for being selfless in your giving.”
Caner acknowledged that the school’s donors made a statement that they “want to raise up a generation of believers who will love the Lord Jesus with all their mind and soul.”
The president explained why he had chosen to name the Student Wellness Center after George Blaurock, who has been called the “Hercules of Anabaptists.” On August 14, 1529, Blaurock was captured in Tyrol. From his prison cell in Guffidaun Castle, racked with pain, he wrote an evangelistic plea that Caner has had inscribed on the wall of the new SWC.
Blaurock’s appeal ends with the words, “Continue no longer in your hardness, sickness, blindness, and ungodliness, when you can have a physician who can heal all your infirmities, and who will afford His services gratis (Matthew 9:12). Less than a month after his plea (September 6, 1529) Blaurock was burned at the stake, at age 38, at Innsbruck after being tortured in order to get him to pledge allegiance to the state Church.”
Caner reflected on the Anabaptist evangelist whose last months before his arrest and subsequent execution were spent preaching and planting churches in the mountains of southern Austria and northern Italy.
Preachers from the mountains
“It’s kind of full circle,” Caner explained, “that the university was also named after two preachers who had a heart for the mountains and wanted to raise up their own set of preachers who would go out and share the Gospel.”
Caner requested the audience to “pray that, as this building is used for fellowship and recreation, that it’s also used to honor the Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe it’s under this roof people will be saved.”
The prospect of many being saved in the Blaurock Student Wellness Center is almost a certainty, because of the rock-solid biblical preaching and worship that characterizes the chapel services and the witnessing of students and staff sure to occur for years to come in the building named for one of God’s most valiant soldiers of the cross.