Buena Vista University will dedicate its new $26 million, 70,000-square-foot Estelle Siebens Science Center on Friday, September 17. The public is invited to attend two of the celebration events free of charge.
At 10 a.m. in Anderson Auditorium on the BVU campus, special guest Dr. Stephen Russell, a Mayo Clinic cancer physician and researcher who heads its gene and virus therapy program, will speak on "Engineering Viruses to Fight Disease."
Dr. Russell has been involved with efforts to develop a way to biologically fuse living cells through the use of a genetically engineered cell membrane. This process, which Mayo researchers call "biofusion," could speed development of new tumor treatments and cancer vaccines.
At 3 p.m. on the lawn outside of the Estelle Siebens Science Center, the dedication ceremony will take place, followed by refreshments and tours of the new facility.
At groundbreaking ceremonies held during October of 2002, BVU President Fred Moore announced that a foundation established by the late Dr. Harold Walter Siebens was the source of a previously anonymous $13 million challenge pledge. The new facility is named in honor of Dr. Siebens' widow, Mrs. Estelle Siebens, who will be recognized at the dedication ceremony along with the more than 450 donors who joined in matching the foundation's $13 million challenge.
The two-story brick and glass structure, which was designed by BWBR Architects Inc. of St. Paul, Minnesota, working with BVU science professors, has been chosen for honors by the American School and University Architecture Portfolio competition. The building boasts 18 laboratories, three research areas, seven classrooms, 24 offices, a "Science Avenue," high-tech greenhouse, fossil wall, fresh and salt water aquariums, and prairie grass exhibit.