BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College has announced an important new addition to Bethany College’s academic program. With the purchase of Bethany Primary School, a new dimension will be added to Bethany’s program in teacher preparation.

Dr. Rodney Hurl, a 1952 graduate of Bethany, provided funding to purchase the building from the Brooke County school district. Bethany Primary sat empty for over a year when the County closed the school after the 2005-06 school year.

The building will be known as the Judith R. Hurl Education Center, named in honor of Dr. Hurl’s late wife. She was a 1953 graduate of Bethany and a member of the College’s first graduating class of Education Majors.

Dr. and Mrs. Hurl also established and contributed to The Robert D. & Esther B. Hurl Chemistry Endowment, The Hurl Library Endowment, and Hurl departmental endowments in Art, Biology, Chemistry, and Education.

Dr. Hurl, a retired physician in Marysville, Ohio, served on the Bethany Board of Trustees from 1971-1997. He continues as an Emeritus Life Trustee.

In introducing Dr. Hurl at the recent Convocation for which West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin was the principal speaker, President G. T. “Buck” Smith commented: “Dr. Hurl is one of the best friends this – or any college – ever had. His focus always is on how best to strengthen the academic program and learning opportunities for students.”

The new building will provide students in the Education department with many new opportunities.

“Because the Education Department is out of space and is currently the largest department on campus, the entire department will move to the Judith R. Hurl Education Center”, said Professor Keely Camden, Chair of the Education department.

“Our students will have access to two 21st century classrooms, a state-of-the-art science lab for science and math education majors and a soon-to-be renovated children’s library. We will also be able to offer a parent resource autism center.”

In hopes of giving back to the community, Bethany will also open a childcare facility in the building. Open to children in infancy to six years of age, the childcare facility will eventually evolve to also include a pre-school.

Bethany graduate, Shannon Warren, has been hired as facility director and will oversee development of the daycare facility. Warren is a licensed infant and childcare provider.

“This is a great opportunity for us to grow as a department and offer other community-based activities at the same time,” said Camden. “The three-storied building needs some modernization, but fundamentally is in excellent condition.”