By CIGI SPARKS, O-N-E REPORTER
After spending seven years in an attempt to reach a goal of $65,000,000 for their "University Rising" campaign and spending 13 years talking about the construction of a new science facility for their students, Lenoir-Rhyne University has finally reached a milestone in their journey.
A crowd of over 200 gathered at the university on Friday, Aug. 28 for a ceremonial groundbreaking to kick off the first phase of construction of a new science hall of the university's Minges Science Building.
"We believe science education is fundamental to our future growth," said university president Dr. Wayne Powell. "Lenoir-Rhyne is proud to continue its traditions of leading the South in preparing future scientists and health care providers."
When LR's "most ambitious challenge in university history" began in 2008, university officials had no clue that they would even meet, let alone exceed their fundraising goal. The campaign has raised a total of $66,500,000 – a whole 1.5 million more than the university had hoped.
"We are delighted to have broken ground on this much anticipated project, especially during our 125th Anniversary Celebration," said Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Dr. Drew Van Horn. "This project marks a significant milestone in the history of LR as we look ahead to the future, while celebrating the past."
The new science hall – which will be an addition to the current Minges science facility – will be named the Alex and Lee George Hall in memory and honor of the members of the George family who have remained valued friends and supporters of LR for many years.
"This project would not be possible without the significant contribution of the George Foundation," Van Horn said. "We are forever grateful to our LR family of alumni, faculty, staff, friends and all supporters who helped to make this dream a reality."
Chairman of LR's Board of Trustees, Boyd George and his daughter, Kimberly attended and were recognized at the event.
The $17.5 million science facility project is partially funded through the success of LR's University Rising campaign which raised an unprecedented amount.
The campaign was co-chaired by Madeleine Dassow and Jerome Bolick. Dassow spoke at the event, extending appreciation to all supporters who are helping to bring this 21st century facility to LR. The campaign, which concluded in May of this year, also supported the construction of the Moretz Sports Athletic Complex, Grace Chapel, and the installation of the new field turf in Moretz Stadium.
The first phase of the project includes the construction of a new 35,000 square foot wing, which will double the size of the Minges Science Building. The "heart" of the building, which will be a type of circular atrium, will connect the new wing to the existing wing of the building. The existing facility will be completely renovated, housing state of the art laboratories, classrooms and research space for disciplines ranging from physic optics to biochemistry and microbiology.
Construction of the new project will begin in November and take approximately 18 months to complete. The project is being completed by Lord Aeck Sargent under the direction of lead architect, Scott O'Brien of the Chapel Hill, N.C. office.