TALLADEGA -- Talladega College officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for two future campus buildings.

A crowd of Talladega College students and city officials, including Talladega Mayor Cooper, Talladega City Manager Patrick Bryant, Talladega Chamber of Commerce Director Jason Daves, and council members Horace Patterson, Ricky Simpson and David Street gathered for the special ceremony.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, state Rep. Barbara Boyd and officials from the United States Department of Agriculture were also present.

The construction projects will include a state-of-the-art student center and residence hall adjacent to Derricotte Hall. The student center will also feature a new gymnasium.

Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins noted this was “the first major construction project since the 1970s for Talladega College, and (it) has been about a decade in the making.”

“It is a special day for Talladega College,” Hawkins continued. “This is a $16 million capital investment for the future of our students. Talladega College is partnering with the USDA and Bretwood Capital Partners LLC,. to help make this financing possible.”

Hawkins added that construction is scheduled to begin later this year.

“We hope that the student center will provide more opportunities for various opportunities on campus,” he said. “The dormitory will also improve the quality of life (for) our students residing on campus.”

Additionally, Talladega College was recently awarded a $40,000 grant from The Home Depot as part of the company’s “Retool your School” initiative.

The campaign benefits Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the nation.

“The funds will be used for additional parking to our baseball fields and also for new benches around campus.” Hawkins said.

This year, a total of nine grants were awarded and were divided into three clusters, based upon student enrollment. Talladega College was assigned to the third cluster, which includes all HBCUs with enrollment up to 1,200 students

The grants must be used for campus improvements that are positive, sustainable and provide long-term benefit.

When asked about the funds raised from the college’s GoFundMe account, Hawkins replied, “We are still in the planning stages with our additional capital improvement projects, but more information will be announced as it becomes available.”

For more information, contact Talladega College Director of Public Relations and Communications Greg Wilson at 256-761-6273.