Generous donation makes SMU science building dream a reality
Sophia Lim, Staff Writer
Saint Martin’s University has reached a historical milestone as the construction for the new science building has started. Thanks to the donations of the Abbey, alumni donors, foundations, and friends of the university, the school was able to reach its goal of $10 million, and had raised $10.4 million to fund the construction of this new facility. The building is meant to complete the STEM complex that will be at the core of the campus and will be located near Cebula Hall, neighboring the Panowicz Foundry for Innovation, and the E.L Wiegand laboratories. After a long process and a few years talk, this project has finally come to life and will consist of a 30,000-square-foot classroom and laboratory facility.
President of Saint Martin’s University, Roy Heynderickx, announced during the ceremony that they aim to have the building up by early spring. In that way, the graduating students would also be able to reap the benefits before they leave the school. Peggy Guevara, a lab manager who is also a graduate of the 2014 class at SMU, shared that when she was a freshman attending Saint Martin’s University, there had been some talk about a new science building and that she now felt privileged to be able to witness it actually happening. Many of SMU’s graduating seniors with science majors had attended the event and shared their excitement about it. “It’s going to be a major improvement for the science department, and such a new environment to utilize. It’s nice to finally have an update,” said Kaylin Fosnacht, a senior at SMU.
In the new science building, there will be a lot more lab space and students will have access to more equipment. As compared to the few tight-fitting labs that they have in Old Main, this upcoming facility will be modern and by that, lower the safety risks and concerns for the students. Guevara says, “There will be more room for research and labs because there were only four labs, now there will be three times more. And that means more research.” The building will also allow science faculty and team to all be in one place and in that way form a more effective collaboration among them and the students. Professors will be able to have their own research labs and students will not have to be crammed in the few labs that there currently are.
The building will not only benefit the students through the means of safety, but also through learning and appearance. Luke Richmond, senior in SMU, says, “Our science majors wouldn’t have to worry about degrading, this new building will give a good face for us.” Adding on, Guevara also states that not only will the facility benefit the current students, but the alumni and incoming students as well. “When the program gets accredited it holds degrees higher, it will give higher accreditation to past and new students alike.” George Parker, a member of the board of trustees, says this development will serve the students with state of the art equipment and allow them to develop relationships, do research, get grants, and more.
The growth that this building will implement is an important one. “The space it’ll provide will give labs a new avenue of growth in the future and can even expand and cater to student growth,” explains Ian Lee, civil engineer who is part of the design team that did site work. He says it is exciting seeing all the progress that has been made so far. The facility will begin to attract more students into the STEM majors and promote learning. Jeff Crane, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, also announced that the construction of the building could increase majors and effectively support Saint Martin’s University students, and also surge science faculty collaborative teaching, in turn, result to a scholarly productive staff.
Overall, the construction of the new science building plays a huge role in growing our campus, promotes learning within students, and effective productivity among staff. Many are excited to witness the completion of this project and be able to benefit from and use it as well. This has marked a huge milestone in the history of Saint Martin’s University and will change and affect the school greatly, for the better. John Carr, also a member of the trustees, shares in his speech a wonderful message, “We at Saint Martin’s could do better, so we at Saint Martins must do better. Now, here we are, doing better.”