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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Massive BVU Science Center project starting to take shape

Monday, September 10, 2001

With the final touches being put on a $9 million-plus recreation center at Buena Vista University, attention on campus is turning to two other long-awaited building developments.

A new Science Center is advancing through the planning stages, with building plans and architectural drawings as the next stage, although it may be after the first of the year before anything is ready to announce, according to BVU Director of Communications Richard Ridgway.

While the building has been a strong desire for the campus for some time, officials say construction will not begin until the funds are in hand to pay for the job - which is certain to be the most expensive building ever constructed on the BVU campus.

"This is a real big ticket item, and we are still working to locate the money to make it happen. It takes a little longer for a project of this magnitude," Ridgway said.

No single naming donor is likely for such a project, so BVU will

look to cobble together funding from various grants, contributions and other private sources, Ridgway suggested.

"The science faculty has been at work for some time developing the elements that they would like to see included in the Science Center when it is constructed. The result is a pretty comprehensive list that can be used as we move into the stages where the building will be designed," Ridgway said. While it has not yet been finalized, he added that he foresees that the new structure may have an auditorium, as the current Science Center has offered. No architect has yet been chosen.

Also on the drawing board is a new dormitory building. The as-yet unnamed building will be similar in design and size to the existing Grand Hall, providing about 87 additional beds for resident students.

The timing of the project has not been decided. Work could begin as early as this fall, could be held until next year, or possibly even delayed beyond that point, Ridgway said.

"Right now, BV is seeking the necessary approvals from the city in advance of actually making the decision. A review of the current housing situation will be undertaken to help make an informed decision," he said. "The plans will be announced as soon as a decision is made."

If the dorm is built, three current dwellings that had been purchased by the college and converted into student cottages will be razed. They are located at 626 and 630 Iowa Street and 511 Grand. The building site would be just north of Grand Hall.

Additional dorm space has been a part of the Buena Vista University master plan since 1998.

"We've seen an increase in enrollment right along, and the result is that we have some doubled-up and tripled-up student housing situations that we didn't have before," Ridgway said. "We do not feel the situation is extraordinarily bad, although the particular students living in those situations may certainly feel it is extraordinary.

"This is where the decision point comes in," Ridgway added. "We need to look very closely at the projected enrollment for the future years, and use that information to determine if this is really the facility that is needed now."

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