Students were welcomed to a new semester on Monday, January 14 with a fresh blanket of snow and a much anticipated new science building.
Duane W. Acklie Hall of Science is the university’s first new academic building in 36 years. The three-story facility of approximately 80,000 square feet includes classrooms, laboratories, student study spaces, faculty offices and a greenhouse. The $29 million project was paid entirely through gifts from generous alumni, friends, corporations and foundations.
“Of course everyone is ecstatic about the new building,” said Jodi Ryter, professor of chemistry, noting her excitement for the state-of-the-art air handling systems in the chemistry labs and the abundance of windows.
“The view of Old Main is very grand,” she said. But she’s equally happy about the interior windows between the labs and hallways. “We’re excited to have people walk up and down the corridors and watch science happening in real time.”
While the building houses three academic departments, several classes from a variety of disciplines utlize the Acklie Hall classrooms. The cozy study spaces and common areas are also available to the entire campus including a coffee shop on the second floor located adjacent to an outdoor balcony that looks out to Old Main.
A unique feature in the building is a large wood installation that runs the length of the entire three floors. The wood comes from the trees that were removed to build Acklie Hall of Science.
“When plans for Duane W. Acklie Hall of Science called for removal of 26 trees, we wanted to make certain that it wouldn’t leave a permanent hole in our campus arboretum," said President Fred Ohles. "It’s gratifying to know the trees have new life on campus now in this beautiful wood installation that will be enjoyed by students, faculty, alumni and friends for decades to come.”
A dedication ceremony for Acklie Hall of Science will be held on Wednesday, May 1 at 4 p.m.