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Monday, May 30, 2016

BVU Science Center wins architectural honors

Monday, August 30, 2004

Schedule planned for gala dedication event on September 17

While plans emerge to dedicate the new $26 million Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University, the building itself is doing its part to stir up excitement.

The university learned this week that the Science Center has been chosen for honors by the American School and University Architecture Portfolio competition. The 2004-2005 honorees will be published in November.

"That is pretty distinguished company to be running in," said director of University Communications Richard Ridgway.

The site includes a "Science Avenue," touch-screen information kiosk, three-dimension fossil wall, passive solar skylighting, flat-screen video, built in fresh and saltwater aquatic life tanks, flexible seating arrangements, a unique rotunda in the shape of a towering glass beaker, a greenhouse that can simulate anything from desert to rain forest conditions and many technological breakthroughs.

The building will be featured in print and electronic publications chronicling the award winners, and a plaque will be presented noting the design honors. The building was designed by BWBR Architects Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., working with educators at BVU.

"We proposed to come to Storm Lake and do the big picture design right in workshops on campus, and the university accepted," BWBR architect John Strastrachota said. "It is participatory design that makes the structure so strong and unique.

"We asked them how they wanted to teach and what they saw happening in the future in these facilities. That gave us a lot of insight as we started to bat those issues around... When we left Storm Lake after spending three days there creating the basic building, we knew we had a design everyone believed in," the architect said.

"These guys at BVU were really great to work for and with. They are truly impassioned about their mission, and that really gets us excited."

A day-long gala celebration has been set up for September 17 to dedicate the building.

Visitors will be welcomed by a performance from the BVU jazz musicians, and a bagpipe procession will lead committee members and the family of benefactor Estelle Siebens to the stage.

There will be speeches from university and Siebens family leaders, as well as a "fanfare finale" that is being kept secret at this time.

Science faculty and students will be conducting unique science demonstrations during the day, with special presentations by Mayo Clinic expert in the emerging field of molecular medicine Dr. Stephen Russell, and the public is invited for guided tours of the building.

"We hope to be sharing the excitement that the campus already has for this amazing project with the community and the state," Ridgway said. "The dedication is an opportunity to share the hopes and aspirations of broadening our horizons of learning. Science isn't just about the students in classes here on campus, it is about about the hopes for the future for all of us. Everybody benefits from scientific exploration, and the advances in science learning today becomes a part of our lives tomorrow."

The tentative schedule of events for the dedication of the Estelle Siebens Science Center:

Friday, September 17

* 10 a.m. Dr. Stephen Russell, M.D., Ph.D. Director of the Molecular Medicine Program - Mayo Clinic - Lecture - Anderson Auditorium: "Engineering Viruses to Fight Disease." Open to area high school students and general public

* 11 a.m. Estelle Siebens Science Center Tours for high school students

* Science faculty and students will be doing demonstrations of various scientific experiments

* Noon - Dr. Russell meets with science students

* 3:00 p.m. - Dedication Celebration Estelle Siebens Science Center, directly in front of ESSC entrance. (Rain location in rotunda of ESSC)

* 4:00 p.m. -Reception and Guided Tours for all in attendance, with student and faculty demonstrations.

* 6:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception by invitation - Grand Ballroom (black tie optional)

* 7:00 p.m. Dedication Celebration Dinner - Grand Ballroom, Keynote Speaker - Dr. Stephen Russell.

* 9:30 p.m. Afterglow Reception - Larson Dining Room

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