Couple's large gift will help renovate field house at Harding Un - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Couple's large gift will help renovate field house at Harding University

Rhodes Field House (Source: www.hardingsports.com) Rhodes Field House (Source: www.hardingsports.com)
SEARCY, AR (KAIT) -

The Rhodes Field House on the Searcy Campus of Harding University will be renovated and expanded thanks to a generous donation from a Russellville couple.

Roy and Becky Reaves donated $1 million to the project.

That will cover half of the $2 million construction project that is expected to begin in November.

Chancellor David B. Burks announced the gift Thursday.

Reaves and Burks were classmates at Harding.

Reaves is a 1965 graduate of Harding with a degree in business administration. He also has an MBA from the University of Arkansas.

He currently is serving in his first term as chairman of Harding’s board of trustees.

Reaves had a career in banking that spanned more than 40 years, serving as chief executive officer at several banks.

He founded First Arkansas Valley Bank in 1997, which later merged with Liberty Bank and then Centennial Bank.

Today he is a cattle rancher and investor and serves on the boards of several community organizations.

Becky Reaves also served Arkansas River Valley Bank customers for 25 years prior to her retirement.

At its semi-annual May meeting, the board of trustees made the decision to add the Reaves name to the building.

Roy and Becky Reaves’ generous gift for the Rhodes Field House not only makes this exciting project possible, but it has also helped us tremendously in moving forward with another renovation project as well," President Bruce McLarty said. “Members of the board of trustees were unanimous in their decision to add the Reaves' name to our beloved old gym, making it the ‘Rhodes-Reaves Field House.’”

The Rhodes Field House project involves adding approximately 2,000 square feet to the entrance of the building and a hospitality box on the second level.

Also part of the project is an 11,000-square-foot addition to the west side of the building.

This area will contain a new practice facility and new basketball dressing rooms.

Reaves said his motivation for providing the gift was that Harding changed his life, and that transformation began in the Rhodes Field House.

“During my first year at Harding, I remember the pickup basketball games where I joined with faculty members and administrators in friendly competition,” Reaves said. “These were men I admired and held in high esteem. I really got to know them during this time in my life. Many are still very dear friends.”

Currently the volleyball and both men’s and women’s basketball teams use the Rhodes Field House.

The proposed facility will be better suited to accommodate all three teams’ practice schedules.

“Becky and I believe these improvements are needed immediately, and we hope our gift will make it happen,” Reaves said.

“Roy and Becky love Harding and her mission,” Burks said. “I am very appreciative of their generous gift to help make this important project a reality.  The added space is really needed for our athletic programs. I am glad they recognize the importance of this facility to the Harding family."

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