Construction set to begin on McArthur Pavilion at Maryville College

March 15, 2004
Karen B. Eldridge, Director of News and Public Information

The sound of hammers will once again echo through the Maryville College campus next month, when work begins on the new McArthur Pavilion.

The pavilion, which will be constructed behind Cooper Athletic Center and adjacent the College’s cemetery, will measure approximately 52 feet by 40 feet and is expected to accommodate groups of up to 150 persons. Plans include a brick fireplace on one end and a shingle roof overhead.

With groundbreaking expected mid-April, College officials expect the building to be completed sometime in July.

A dedication ceremony, commemorating both the building’s completion and the contributions of the David and Grace McArthur family to Maryville College and the community, is planned for late summer or fall.

Rarity Communities making pavilion possible

Construction of the McArthur Pavilion is made possible by a generous gift from Rarity Communities Inc.

“I’ve known the McArthur family my whole life. They have been really good friends of mine throughout the years,” said Michael Ross, president of Rarity Communities Inc. “[Rarity Communities] wanted to do something to honor the family and their connection to the College.”

Ross said he was pleased with the proposed plans and location of the pavilion.

“It will be in such a great setting,” he said, pointing out the backdrop of the College Woods and the easy access (walking and driving) to the structure. “I hope it will be used a lot by folks in the community and at the College.”

McArthurs are a Maryville College family

Grace Proffitt McArthur is the daughter of Fred L. Proffitt, who graduated from the College in 1907 and served as the treasurer of Maryville College from 1914 until 1943, and Estelle Snodgrass Proffitt, who taught Latin at the College between 1908 and 1912. Both are interred in the College cemetery.

Grace graduated from the College in 1936, but not before meeting and falling in love with David McArthur, a fellow student from Mississippi. The two married in 1939 and had four children: Graham, Fred, Alida and Stainton. The McArthurs have been longtime members of New Providence Presbyterian Church.

Grace was a part-time instructor at the College for 20 years and also worked as a librarian in the Blount County school system. David, who was a 35-year employee of National Chemsearch Corporation and operated McArthur Department Store in Maryville, served as president of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Maryville Kiwanis Club and Maryville College Alumni Association. He passed away in 1997.

Daughter Alida McArthur Graves graduated from the College, as did granddaughters Kathleen McArthur Mosher and Lauren McArthur Blair.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Fred McArthur, who is vice president of Rarity Communities, developers of Rarity Bay Waterfront Golf Community, said it is hard for him to express what the named pavilion means to him, his mother, his siblings and their families.

“I feel very humbled that Rarity Communities Inc. would honor me and my family. Being a part of this company’s success has been an honor in itself; this [pavilion] goes above and beyond anything I can imagine.”

Pointing out his mother’s connection to the Proffitt family and that many of his father’s siblings came to Maryville College from Mississippi and stayed in the area, McArthur said many family members live in Maryville because of the school. Living in the College Hill Historic District as a boy, the College Woods was his childhood playground, McArthur said.

“We’re very excited about this pavilion being constructed near the College Woods,” he said. “As children, the College was a wonderful thing for us to have in our backyard.”

Gibson says pavilion is a fitting tribute

“We’re so pleased that Michael Ross and Rarity Communities have chosen to honor the McArthur family and the family’s Maryville College connection in this way,” said Dr. Gerald W. Gibson, president of Maryville College. “It’s fitting, I think, that this structure – that soon will be enjoyed by College and community groups – is named for the McArthurs, because generations of this family have been supportive of and devoted to both Maryville College and the surrounding community for years.”

Gibson said he looked forward to seeing the McArthur Pavilion added to the College’s campus map, which has undergone several updates in the last 10 years. The area below Cooper Athletic Center and near the football field (where the pavilion is slated for construction) underwent a major transformation in 2002, when new parking lots, sidewalks, picnic tables and lights were installed as part of the College’s Campus Beautification and Improvement Plan.

“Without a doubt, the McArthur Pavilion will add to the beauty, visibility and functionality of that area of campus, and I expect that it will become a popular gathering place,” the president said.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.