MCHENRY — A couple who are part-time residents of the Deep Creek Lake area have established a $1 million estate gift to the Garrett College Foundation to be used in connection with either the college’s proposed performing arts center or a future student center.

“This is an incredibly generous gift by a couple who understand Garrett College’s mission of service to our students and our community and who want to be part of fulfilling that mission,” said Richard Midcap, Garrett College president.

The couple’s nonbinding estate commitment will be realized after the death of both donors. It is similar to the estate gift executed by the late Daniel E. Offutt III, which was realized last year with a $2 million gift from the Offutt Trust. The income generated by that gift will be used for scholarships and equipment for science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.

“This latest gift has the potential to dramatically improve the college’s ability to serve our students and our community,” said Cherie Krug, executive director of the Garrett College Foundation.

Garrett College is in the final design development stages for the Community Education and Performing Arts Center. The college and the Garrett County commissioners recently signed a memorandum of understanding with regard to operational funding of the center. The Garrett Lakes Arts Festival, Garrett County Board of Education and Garrett County Arts Council have all signed partnership agreements.

“We expect to release a construction request for proposals in November,” Midcap said. “Construction should start in late winter and the center should open in the spring of 2022.”

Garrett College and the Garrett College Foundation are in the planning stages of a capital campaign to build an endowment dedicated to operational funding for the performing arts center.

“Estate gifts can play a key role in building long-term financial flexibility for small, rural community colleges,” said Midcap. “This latest gift, from a pair of generous anonymous donors, can truly be transformational for the college many years down the road.”

A student center is likely to be one of the top two projects after the CEPAC when Garrett College revises its master plan next year. The center would be a renovation project that would include updating the cafeteria and other student spaces.

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