Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

March 8, 2010

LMC inks deal for Landmark

JACKSONVILLE — The Landmark, a historic building iconic to the Jacksonville community, was acquired by Lon Morris College for its ever-expanding realm of programs Monday morning.

LMC President Dr. Miles McCall said the building will house the school’s upcoming Hospitality Administration Program, specializing in the academic areas of event planning, restaurant management and hotel operations.

“We are excited about adding a new program at LMC,” McCall said. “Thanks to the generosity of the Bailey family, we have an opportunity to better serve and impact Jacksonville and the surrounding East Texas Communities.”

Becky Hays, whose family owned the building, said The Landmark, the first federal building in Cherokee County, was built in 1933 and now has 20,000 square feet of space.

“To marry this institution with The Landmark, I believe it’s God’s timing,” Hays said. “We are in a relationship for the future of this facility and, as for what it’s going to do for the city of Jacksonville, I see nothing but positive things.”

McCall said this facility came to the college after about a year of negotiations. He said the hospitality program will see performing and visual arts shows come to The Landmark for presentation to the area community.

“We will have these things even as we launch other programs,” McCall said. “For us this is a great day. It’s really about the students.”

Bill Bailey, Hays’ father, said through the years LMC has not let the world know what it can do.

“We’ve got to do what we can to get in front of people,” he said. “If you have a reputation for success, you will have support you never dreamed of.”

McCall said due to the explosive expansion in the number of students at LMC, the college’s master plan is in the process of being upgraded.

“We’re having to spill into the community more and more,” he said.

He also said an example of this is the school’s use of the Trade Winds Motel and America’s Best Value Inn in Jacksonville to house some of the students it doesn’t have room for in other campus-controlled housing.

The school’s new hospitality program, which will begin in fall 2010, will be headed by Jacksonville native Breezy Lake. She has a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration with a minor in general business and a master’s degree in human sciences from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Lake said introductory classes will gear students toward learning at the bachelor’s degree level.

“There are great opportunities for students to get that type of training here,” Lake said.

She said she expects at least 30 students to participate in hospitality courses in the fall and also said The Landmark is the only full facility of its kind in Texas outside of major four-year universities.

“Our students will have opportunities other students don’t have at other universities at the freshman and sophomore level,” she said.

The Landmark will function as both an area for many classrooms and as a lab with kitchen space and more.

McCall did not disclose how much money the college paid for The Landmark, but did say a great deal of the cost was donated by Bailey and his family as a gift to the college. He also said the college is currently searching for a restaurant to partner with as part of the hospitality program but added no one has been chosen yet.

A historic building, The Landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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