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Construction Underway on Center for the Sciences and Agriculture

$6.2 Million Already Raised; Project Completion Planned in Summer 2015

July 17, 2014

The renovation and expansion of Kettering Hall will result in the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture when it opens in summer 2015. Workers have removed the concrete overhangs on the building's east side in preparation for the new wing that will be attached parallel to the existing building.

The renovation and expansion of Kettering Hall will result in the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture when it opens in summer 2015. Workers have removed the concrete overhangs on the building's east side in preparation for the new wing that will be attached parallel to the existing building.

Wilmington College’s $13 million expansion and renovation project that will become the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture is underway and on track for completion and occupancy in summer 2015.

Fences have been installed at the construction site and initial phase work completed as the renovation commences on the 34,000 square-foot, half-century-old Kettering Hall. Construction will begin shortly on the 13,500 square foot addition.

The expanded and renovated facility will house 10 laboratories, three research labs, 10 classrooms, two conference rooms and 30 offices. It has been designed to achieve a silver or gold LEED certification as an environmentally friendly “green” building in its design, construction, operation and maintenance.

The existing part of the facility will be reconfigured and upgraded for optimal use of space with a special consideration placed upon the building infrastructure. The new wing will feature additional student-focused amenities for hands-on learning opportunities.

The facility will accommodate the record numbers of agriculture and science students enrolling at the College.

President Jim Reynolds said Wilmington is known for having excellent students and faculty in these areas, as well as up-to-date instrumentation. Now, WC will have a facility to match these “outstanding individuals” in the sciences and agriculture.

He said the direct benefit to Wilmington’s students will, in turn, result in graduates that are better able to attain good jobs and excel in their fields, enroll in graduate and professional schools, and embark upon successful and self-actualizing careers.

(LEFT) An aerial view of the renovated and expanded Center for the Sciences and Agriculture.

“This will be one of several exciting new projects the College is planning in the near future as it moves forward in meeting the needs of its students and reinforcing the value of preparing liberally educated professionals,” Reynolds added.

Erika Goodwin, vice president for academic affairs, expressed the excitement and anticipation felt by students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends during the ensuing months since the groundbreaking ceremony held in January.

“The Center for the Sciences and Agriculture will be a core building for us on campus as every student that comes to WC will have courses in that building,” she said, noting that, while it will serve to highlight the College’s agriculture, natural science and math programs, in actuality it will serve all of WC’s academic programs.

(RIGHT) This view from the campus mall highlights the building addition.

“The new building will better represent the strength of our academic programs and is just one of many new and exciting things happening on campus.”

The College has raised some $6.2 million in gifts toward a $7 million goal for the $13 million project. Also, The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded WC a $19.7 million rural economic development loan, which makes commencing with the project this year feasible. The long-term, low-interest USDA loan was finalized earlier this summer.

The renovation is being conducted in phases so the academic building can be utilized as efficiently as possible during the year’s construction. Indeed, chemistry and biology faculty will occupy different parts of the building as determined by the renovation schedule.

Also, this summer, on the other side of campus, Bailey Hall is undergoing extensive renovation in transitioning from a residence hall to an academic building designed to accommodate a dozen offices, three new classrooms and areas that this year will be utilized for the Math Center and Physics Laboratory. Agriculture, mathematics and physics faculty will move from Kettering and have their offices in Bailey this year before returning to the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture next summer.

Bailey Hall, which was originally the College’s first science facility when built in 1909, will become a permanent classroom and office facility for other academic areas in 2015.