Troy University officially dedicated the newest facility at its Dothan Campus, Coleman Hall, during a ceremony this morning.
The 14,000-square-foot facility houses the Coleman Center for Early Learning and Family Enrichment, an early learning center that will provide care and learning to children from newborns through 4-year-olds.
The building and the center are named in honor of James F. Coleman, the longtime chairman of Coleman Worldwide Moving, whose family’s $1 million initial donation helped make the project possible.
“This is a great legacy and tribute to my mom and dad,” said James F. Coleman’s son, Jeff Coleman, President and CEO of Coleman World Group. “This is an incredible day in the life of my family and our community. Over seven years of vision have gone into this facility. It’s a way we can pay it forward as a company and a family to a community that has been so great to us. It’s going to touch thousands of young lives, be transformative in education and family enrichment.”
Jeff Coleman, TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., and Board of Trustees member Gibson Vance were among the speakers at the dedication ceremony.
“I want to thank the Coleman family for their vision and their generosity,” Hawkins said. “I’m excited that this building is not just a building. It will do three things fundamentally. In this building, we will serve children and serve them well. We will produce well-qualified teachers in this building, and they will be ready to serve that early childhood population. The other area that will have ripple effects beyond service and teaching is research. What we think will happen here is identification through research of skillsets that will help others. Children are our future, and this is about that future.”
Jeff Coleman, a TROY alumnus, said Coleman Hall reflects the University’s motto to educate the mind to think, the heart to feel and the body to act.
“This is where we bring the child and the family together, give a chance to children in the Wiregrass community to get a smart start and a strong start and then matriculate out into our workforce to be college and career ready,” Coleman said. “Today is about workforce development, it’s about growth and prosperity for our community.”
The Coleman Center classrooms feature support and collaboration from faculty and students along with qualified teachers and auxiliary teachers.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Dothan and for the University as a whole,” said Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims, Dean of the College of Education. “We have the opportunity to inspire minds in children here in the Wiregrass region. We also have an opportunity for teacher education candidates to learn about the best practices in early learning care, and we also have the opportunity to work with the College of Health and Human Services in nursing and social work programs.”
The center will begin serving children Monday, Sept. 9.
Coleman Hall is the first new facility at the Dothan Campus since Everett Hall was constructed in 2001.
The City of Dothan, Houston County, the City of Ozark, Henry County, the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and numerous private donors helped make the Coleman Center a reality.