Last week. the Jacksonville City Council voted to approve an $8.5 million Safe Neighborhood investment for Edward Waters College in its location in the blighted area of northwest Jacksonville. The City’s 2017-18 budget took effect on October 1, 2017 and includes the Edward Waters College Community Revitalization Project. This funding will provide support for an Athletic Community Field, male dormitory, and safety improvements and infrastructure enhancements at Florida’s oldest independent institution of higher learning.
College President, Dr. Nathaniel Glover stated, “This is a long-awaited and much needed investment in the northwest area of the City and its oldest institution of higher education. Edward Waters College is a resonating symbol of the history of our great City. This investment will bring safety and increased benefits to the New Town Success Zone and Health Zone 1 that includes the highest health, safety, and education disparities. I am ever so grateful for the Mayor’s recognition of Edward Waters and for the support of Council President Anna Brosche as well as the support of the members of the City Council.”
Dr. Glover previosly approached Mayor Lenny Curry to request support for two challenges he felt were impeding the growth and progress of the College. Dormitory conditions resulting in mold and unhealthy environments were affecting recruitment and retention efforts. The long-time absence of an on-campus athletic field required the college to leave its campus and community for football games, played at local high schools. This void which robs the school of a home-spirited atmosphere, as expressed by Glover, also prevents the community from embracing and accessing the campus.
The $8.5 million allocation will revitalize a community-accessible athletic field that will hold 2,800 seats and rehabilitate the oldest aging student dormitory on campus, Tiger Landing. The rehabilitation to the schools’ largest dormitory housing 176 students represents not only an investment in the College and its students, but an investment in the surrounding community by encouraging renovation of the existing northwest properties. By providing critical upgraded facilities and addressding deficiencies, the positive impact on students and the neighborhood will immediately provide the heartbeat in the nucleus of the New Town Success Zone, home to the EWC Center for Criminal Justice and Forensic Science and JSO Zone 5 Substation.
With an investment in Edward Waters College students and the surrounding New Town area – the Community Revitalization Project – will improve the quality of resources and vitality for EWC and the surrounding neighborhood in the core of the City.
It is a great capstone to an already successful career, to receive $8.5 million from the City of Jacksonville. He used the announcement as the precursor tot he announcement of his impending retirement next May.
When asked of his retirement, Glover stated, “Retirement is a strong word. I plan to remain connected to EWC. I think this is the appropriate time to look at the transition of the College. I will remain as close as the incoming President would want me to be. I will remain engaged. I am still here until May of 2018. I still have work to do. And, I look forward to doing it.”
In addition to his stellar career in higher education. President Nathaniel Glover, who is the 29th President of EWC, was the first elected African American Sheriff of Jacksonville, and the first elected African American sheriff in Florida since the end of Reconstruction. Glover is not only President, but a proud alumnus of EWC. He graduated from EWC with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science before receiving his Master of Education from the University of North Florida. EWC presented Glover with an Honorary Doctorate of Law.
Now that the college has made physical enhancements and has built on academically, Glover said, his successor will need to work on the school’s financial stability and bolster the base support system.