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Little Rock couple to aid UA construction of design center

$1 million pledged to project by Jaime Adame | September 17, 2020 at 3:23 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- A Little Rock couple has pledged $1 million to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in support of the planned Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation.

Ken Shollmier and his wife, Linda Sue, are making the commitment to assist with an architecture center that's envisioned as a key part of the UA Windgate Art and Design District that's also planned to include a new four-story visual arts building.

The Timberlands Center will house timber and wood design initiatives within UA's Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. It's to be put on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Government Avenue.

The center is being designed by Grafton Architects, a Dublin firm whose co-founders won this year's prestigious Pritzker Prize, with assistance from Modus Studio of Fayetteville.

"Arkansas will become well known for the Anthony Timberlands Center, because no one has anything like it," Ken Shollmier said in a statement released by the university.

The Timberlands Center is estimated to cost $19.5 million, with the project cost needing approval from the University of Arkansas System board of trustees.

A $7.5 million gift from timberman John Ed Anthony and his wife, Isabel, is among the private support for the project.

Ken Shollmier, a businessman and real estate developer, was praised by Peter MacKeith, UA's architecture dean, for helping with efforts aimed at boosting wood-based design.

"As the school began its initiatives in advancing the economic and environmental aspects of design innovation in timber and wood for the state, Ken provided particular encouragement and advice," MacKeith said in a statement. The $1 million pledge "adds immense substance and momentum" to the Timberlands Center project, he added.

Ken Shollmier is a 1963 UA graduate. The couple previously have given in support of various UA efforts, and an architecture lecture hall is among the parts of campus named after the Shollmiers.

With their latest gift, a future space in Timberlands Center will also be named in their honor, pending approvals that include the university's board of trustees.

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