Southwestern to Break Ground on New Science Building April 25
Southwestern University plans to officially break ground for its new science center April 25.
Phase One of the project will add 23,700 square feet of space to the existing Fondren-Jones Science Building. This will be done by constructing an L-shaped addition on the southeast corner of the building.
The first floor of the new addition will have labs for biology, chemistry and physics in close proximity to encourage collaboration between disciplines. The second floor will have biology labs, a cell culture lab and a molecular biology center. The third floor will have a biochemistry research lab and the organic chemistry teaching and research laboratories.
The addition is expected to be completed in time for the spring 2016 semester.
Once the addition is completed, labs that were located in the original 1954 section of the science building will be relocated in preparation for Phase Two of the project, which will involve the complete remodeling of the original section of the building. The spaces in the old building that used to serve as laboratories will be repurposed for other uses.
Phase Two of the project also includes construction of a new three-story entrance on the north side of the building. The finished building will have 103,000 square feet for classrooms, offices, seminar rooms and laboratories.
Groundbreaking for the new science center is the culmination of more than five years of planning and fundraising.
“Many people have helped us get to this point,” said Ben Pierce, a professor of biology who has played a major role in the project. “It’s exciting to now actually see the start of construction. This new facility will transform the way we do science at Southwestern and will enhance the education of all Southwestern students for many years to come, so it’s an important moment.”
Southwestern raised $8 million of the $24 million needed for the new science center through its Thinking Ahead campaign, which was completed in 2013. The university is now focused on raising the $16 million for Phase Two of the project.
Major donors to the science center project to date include The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Cullen Foundation, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., the Fondren Foundation, the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation, the M.D. Anderson Foundation, and the Bridwell Foundation. Several alumni and friends of Southwestern have also made major gifts to support the project.