JMU Turns 25

By: Melissa Reynolds
By: Melissa Reynolds

In the past 10 years 42 percent of the city's growth can be attributed to JMU.

"It's hard to even know where to begin," Pam Johnson says.

Pam Johnson's been a professor at JMU since the Madison College days.

"I came in 74 and I wouldn't even begin to guess what the enrollment was," Johnson says.

You don't have guess, it was around 7,000 in 1977, now it's more than 15,000.

"As far as the name change is concerned when I first came here I would go to conventions and things and they would say oh, Madison College, isn't that in Wisconsin? The name change has made a difference in making JMU more recognizable," Roger Hall says.

It's also helped the school to grow, here's some numbers to chew on, the annual operating budget has gone from $21.4 million to more than $230 million, the campus has grown by 130 acres and the faculty has doubled, this growth is also spilling into the city.

"Some of it has been so rapid that even those of us that are here all summer long and have been here a long time are surprised by how many more people there seem to be in a more confined area," Johnson says.

"In the last 10 years especially I think we've seen a whole lot of development in the area we annexed in 1983 that really directly serves the JMU student population," Stacy Turner says.

It includes all the housing complexes on Port Republic Road and all the stores and restaurants on 33 East.

"They do increase a lot of the taxes that we're able to raise here there are always costs that go along with it because there are road improvements, we've gotta keep up with the water and sewer," Turner says.

Overall, JMU seems happy with the growth.

"I think it's at just the right place to love it a lot," Johnson says.

The city itself has grown by 37 percent in the past 10 years.

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