Students and supporters of Edward Waters College gathered Monday for the groundbreaking of the school's new criminal justice educational facility and police substation.
College President Nat Glover, Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford and other private donors were in attendance.
Many donations were needed to complete the project. CSX CEO Michael Ward gave $1 million in grant money on the condition the school raised an additional $2 million.
All of the money raised goes towards infrastructure improvements, like a new police building for the school established in 1866.
The school in the New Town area of Jacksonville was founded as an institution for African-American students nearly 150 years ago.
Now with more than 900 enrolled, Glover says the school has come a long way.
"If I had to sum up what has happened here in the last 2 or 3 years, it’s momentum," he said. "We’ve done some good things. We’ve actually had fundraising efforts here that I think will go into the category of stellar."
Glover is excited about the training students will receive, working hands on before they graduate.
"The presence of a police substation, it’s a deterrent to crime and it’s a learning cathedral for our criminal justice program here at Edward Waters college," Glover said. "So our students are actually studying in a working substation that’s like a doctor or intern studying in the hospital,"
The facility cost $2.6 million funded purely through donations from the community.
The sheriff donated $900,000 and the community donated more than $950,000. The college donated the difference.
As a former sheriff, Glover is passionate about the new addition.
"It will be obvious a feeling of safety in the community, a big police station right on campus," Glover said.