As part of the Science Initiative, after seven years of organizing and planning, Saint Mary’s University broke ground on the new Science and Learning Center, to be opened in fall of 2017, according to Audrey Kintzi, vice president for development and alumni relations.
The groundbreaking ceremony invited donors, trustees, faculty, and students to enjoy a jazz band, opening speeches, a blessing of the building, the ceremonious shoveling, and an after party.
As a part of the university’s strategic plan to enhance Saint Mary’s academic experience, SMUMN trustees and representatives of the university and construction company broke ground for the new building. The goal is to set the initial cement foundation before the ground freezes, in order to continue the work throughout the winter.
Representatives from SMUMN and the construction company broke ground for the new Science and Learning Center.
Video by Allison Christensen
“This is an extraordinary time for Saint Mary’s,” said Kintzi. This $19 million project has been funded solely through gifts to the university. The Science and Learning Center project began to gain significant momentum with a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor, on the condition that the university raise a matching amount. Many contributions were made to the project by generous Saint Mary’s supporters and the $5 million match was met, launching the project into reality. Currently, the university has raised $13 million with $5 million left to raise through donations. Potential donors are being cultivated to complete the funding.
As for the current science building, Hoffman Hall will be renovated once the new Science and Learning Center is up and running, according to Kintzi. The renovation date is to be determined.
Although this new campus addition will be mostly for the science departments, all departments will benefit. “We want to emphasize that this is a learning center as well as a science building,” said Kintzi. Being a liberal arts college this building will serve as an interdisciplinary center of learning. In order to stick with the SMUMN tradition of small class sizes, the new building’s auditorium will be used for science symposiums, speakers, and other major events, as opposed to serving as a large lecture hall.
“We are excited to give [SMUMN students] the kind of space to continue to do the amazing things they are doing and more,” said Kintzi.
Senior Biology and Biochemistry major, Philip Emmerich, discusses his Saint Mary’s science experience and future cancer research plans.
Photo by Katie Krull
This new building is a step for Saint Mary’s not only as a university, but as a Catholic institution of learning, and it will serve as a reminder that religion and science are not separate, according to President Brother William. A Biology and Biochemistry major with his sights set to cure cancer, Philip Emmerich also spoke of the opportunity that this new building will give to those studying here.