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Fisher addresses growth limits at convo

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher wasn’t above asking students to come to one of his “Ask Dr. Fisher” convos Wednesday morning.

“Y’all looking for a convo?” he said to several students as he closed a door to the Massey classroom holding the Q&A.

Once the event began, Fisher made a combination of statements about campus issues and answered questions from around twenty students in attendance. Much of the conversation centered around growth at Belmont, including construction, buildings and the rise in student population.

While Fisher doesn’t expect the current level of growth to stop in the near future, he said he sees a time where this expansion would stabilize. He told a rising sophomore he doesn’t envision the current level of growth stopping during the student’s time at Belmont, but possibly soon after.

“Honestly, … I don’t know the number. I think we’ll know it when we get there,” Fisher said.

While he sees potential for extra physical growth as well, including about 500 additional spaces for students in the Hillside area, more space would be needed for much more future growth.

“We would have to acquire more property and get it zoned to expand,” he said.

The president also hinted another building, one that would likely house a new dining facility, is slated to be built near 15th Avenue on the remaining tennis courts.

“That’s just inevitable given our need for space,” Fisher said.

While the university’s future was a main topic at the event, current construction projects were also addressed. Fisher said additional details about the Wedgewood Building are still being worked out, but that the information and requests provided by student leadership, faculty and staff have been considered and included in the building plan. Groundbreaking for the facility is set for May 4.

“It is a different building than it would have been, and it’s going to be better because of it,” Fisher said.

He also said construction for the Baskin Law Center, Dickens Hall and Belmont Heights Baptist Church are currently on schedule. All three buildings are slated to be ready by this fall.

Fisher ended the Q&A with a stern statement about the current rate of campus crime, citing the university’s zero tolerance policy on the issue. Multiple students have been arrested this semester for possessing drugs like marijuana brownies and hallucinogenic mushrooms.

“Let’s just say this year hasn’t been fun for us,” he said. “Next year won’t be either if [incoming students] come to a place to engage in illegal activities. We’re going to try even harder.”

Fisher, with the majority of senior administration present at the convo, also fielded questions about tuition, the size of the Beaman’s workout facilities and expanding certain majors.

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