It’s been in the planning stages for more than 2.5 years, but recently North Central College started physically making way for their new science center.
“The college has amazing history in the sciences and to continue that prestigious trajectory into the future we really needed new facilities for the sciences. So its been the culmination of 2.5 years on my part but years and years of work from so many of the faculty, administration and trustees as well to get us to this point where we are able to break ground on the science center. But I think importantly that is just a first step for us we are breaking ground now but we still have a lot of work to do on the fundraising side, but also in our brilliant future campaign for the college,” said North Central College President, Dr. Troy Hammond.
The $60 million building is the cornerstone in the colleges seven and a half-year “Brilliant Future Campaign”, an effort to upgrade the school’s academic facilities to keep them competitive with new ways of learning.
“Our current science facility is almost 50 years old and when that building was built, undergraduate research wasn’t that important. But now it is. For students whether they are going to graduate school or right into the field they need to do research as an undergraduate essentially working without a recipe having that experience of problem solving, seeing how things don’t always work the way the textbook says they will. The new building has plenty of space for the undergraduates to do their research projects, things can be set up continuously and don’t need to be taken down,” said Jeffrey Bjorklund, Professor of Chemistry.
But the new space isn’t just for science students; the college hopes the central campus location and features like an auditorium, outdoor classroom and grab n go food stop, will attract students of all studies.
“It will be a gateway and throughway for all students from all disciplines and we’ve designed it with that in mind whether your traveling from the north to south end or vice versa, its going to be inviting for all students to pass through, to gather for study groups for meeting up with friends whether you’re in the sciences or not. So it’s really capturing that interdisciplinary for all majors and all of our students,” said Dr. Hammond.
As the demolition portion wraps up, Pepper Construction Company will start on the new building’s construction in August from the bottom up.
“We have to construct a building along the full length of the building down 15 feet so in order to do that we have to hold everything back so we use an earth retention system that holds everything up while we dig down the 15 feet then pour in the foundation then steel frames and build on the inside and be ready to go in June of 2017,” said Superintendent of Pepper Construction, Dan Noack.
A short time to wait for the opportunity to move forward STEM education at the colligate level in town.
“North Central and the communities around it have always had a good connection and great relationship, this is going to be a center point for STEM education in the western suburbs, and use the facility as well as those that have left North Central and go on to work in the businesses around us. We’ve got such a thriving business and culture around us its going to be really exciting for the future,” said Dr. Hammond.
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
Get daily hometown news and sports delivered to your inbox!Sign Up Today!