COLUMBIA — A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for a new science building at Columbia College.
"Let's turn some earth and meet the future," said Michael Kateman, executive director of Development, Alumni and Public Relations, as a group planted their shovels into the ground to symbolize the beginning of the construction.
The 53,000-square-foot building will hold the biology, chemistry, forensic science, environmental science and nursing programs. It will have an auditorium, five general laboratories, eight advanced laboratories, five classrooms and 18 faculty offices.
This building will alter the landscape of the campus, but more importantly, it will have a positive, lasting impact, Daisy Grossnickle, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, said.
Brandi Herrman, associate director of Public Relations for Columbia College, said science classes are held all over the campus, but the new building will consolidate them in one location. It will have better facilities and better laboratories, and the old laboratories will be repurposed.
Gerald Brouder, president of Columbia College, said that more money has been raised for the new science building than any other project in the college's history. The building will be financed with college funds and private donations, according to Herrman.
Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for Academic Affairs, said that the building will allow continuing academic growth for Columbia College, including a new Bachelor of Arts degree for science in chemistry, and a 20 percent increase in the number of laboratory sections they will be able to offer to students.
Smith also said the lecture hall/performance space in the new building will seat 126 people, and this new auditorium will be more properly sized than others already on campus. The other auditoriums are either too small, fitting only about 50 people, or are too large, fitting about 500.
The building will feature gathering spaces in the wings for studying and conversation, Smith said.
The brick, limestone and glass building will have two stories, plus a penthouse for mechanical space, said Bob Hutton, Executive Director of Administrative Services. It also has an energy efficient heating and air-conditioning system and building shell that is well-insulated.
"It's as green as we can make it without being LEED certified," Hutton said.
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