The Daily American - Benton, IL
  • Morthland College looking toward expansion

  • Growing by leaps and bounds. That describes Morthland College, a fledgling faith-based institution of higher learning located in West Frankfort.
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  • Growing by leaps and bounds.
    That describes Morthland College, a fledgling faith-based institution of higher learning located in West Frankfort.
    The latest "leap" is the desired acquisition of a new home, according to president and founder Dr. Tim Morthland. The school seeks to purchase the historic former Elks building located at Oak and Emma Streets in West Frankfort.
    Morthland, who holds degrees in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering as well as MD, described the building which is currently owned by the Grace Baptist Fellowship. "The four-story, 15,000 square foot building was built in 1923. It was the home of the Elks for nearly a decade before housing several church denominations."
    The building and grounds fit perfectly into the plans of the fast-growing college and its classical vision of education, that largely emulates that of America's founding fathers.
    Fittingly, the building was erected in Greek Revival/Federalist style with ionic columns as well as a balcony on the facade. On the inside, most rooms have 16-foot ceilings.
    The sanctuary retains the original stained glass windows. Also conducive to the purpose of Morthland education, multiple brick fireplaces adorn as well as classical door frames.
    "Wainscoting accents the first floor," Morthland said. "It has the capacity of 250 to 300 individuals and functional, immediately usable space on every floor."
    Plans include housing administrative offices, faculty offices, chapel, student commons, kitchen and student area.
    The school has experienced remarkable growth. On March 29, 2009, 70 community members met in West Frankfort to discuss the subject of building a Christian college in Southern Illinois.
    This meeting birthed a 20-member steering committee. In October 2009, the institution was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. The following March, the institution achieved 501C3 status with the IRS. Morthland took a huge step forward on October 5, 2010, when the Illinois Board of Higher Education bestowed formal authority operate as a college.
    In June of last year Morthland was authorized to grant four-year degrees by IBHE. Also last year, the college began its first semester in August, with eleven students. The trustees are predicting 70 students this fall.
    Right now, the school is seeking donors who believe in and support its mission which is: "To build a classical, Christian college that embraces tradition, heritage, wisdom and Jesus Christ. Morthland College embraces profound scholarship, Biblical foundations, and a commitment to the region we serve."
    Morthland leaders project a student enrollment of more than 100 in one year with growth to 500 in five years. The school is outgrowing their current administrative and classroom facilities in downtown West Frankfort.

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