Construction on Concordia’s new Integrated Science Complex kicked off April 22 with a celebratory bang.
After a brief program on the plaza outside Jones Science and Ivers, a thermite reaction set under an old fume hood spewed sparks and heat into the air – a symbol of the demolition first needed to create new.
“Today signifies a real milestone reached in our planning and our fundraising,” said the Hon. John Tunheim, chair of Concordia’s Board of Regents. “We know that a state-of-the-art science facility will help Concordia to recruit and retain top-notch students and faculty ... It will be a place where a community of scientists – together, novice beside pro – will learn science by doing science.”
Demolition inside Ivers has already begun. The new facility is expected to be completed by August 2017.
Among the highlights of the project are classrooms and labs that support active teaching, and glass walls in the labs that allow natural light. The building also boasts informal spaces that will encourage informal learning and connections. The college has raised $27 million and Sanford Health offered a $3 million match toward the project.
“As we have planned for this project, our focus has been always on our wonderful students and creating spaces for them to experience the wonder of discovery,” said Dr. Ellen Aho, professor of biology and project shepherd.
The renovation of the college’s science facilities honors disciplines that have been part of Concordia’s mission from the beginning, said President William Craft.
More than 100 students, faculty, staff and alumni attended the event. Students from each discipline that will be housed in the new facility participated in the plunging of the symbolic detonators. Also present was Norman Jones, for whose family Jones Science Center is named.
After a brief countdown, a fire alarm was sounded and sparks flew.
Alex Faber ’18 studies psychology, chemistry and neuroscience. He will be among those students who have had classes in Jones and Ivers and will enjoy the new Integrated Science Complex.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “It will be awesome to experience.”