Arkansas Baptist College announced plans today for an $18 million expansion of its campus just south of downtown Little Rock. The college plans to build a new education building, expand the cafeteria from 77 seats to 322, build a new 190-bed residence hall, buy land around the campus to prepare for future growth and build a community union that will include a coffee shop, a lounge-study area, a food court, a conference room, office space and student apartments. First Security Bank of Little Rock will provide financing for the expansion, in partnership with Arkansas Capital Corporation and the college. Under the New Markets Tax Credit Program, the Arkansas Capital Corporation will sell tax credits to qualified national investors, and the tax credits ultimately will reduce the amount of debt owed by the college to First Security Bank, the college said in a news release. Over the past two years, Arkansas Baptist College has raised $6 million in contributions and grants for capital projects. Enrollment has increased from less than 200 in the spring of 2006 to nearly 750 today and is expected to reach 1,200 by the fall of 2014, the college said. The college also has demolished or renovated 20 houses, bought 12 additional homes and lots and acquired three businesses in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood. “We intend to nurture our traditional strengths as a historically black college, connect our academic programming to applied workforce and entrepreneurial skills, and take a lead role in rebuilding the community we call home,” said Fritz Hill, the college’s president.