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College breaks ground on academic building

Jennifer Metz | Friday, October 6, 2006

Saint Mary’s broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art academic building Thursday afternoon. The building, part of the College’s renovation and construction plan, will make new technology accessible to students and faculty.

The ceremony took place at the corner of Brother Andre Drive and Madeleva Drive. Parents, alumnae and friends were in attendance to celebrate what the Saint Mary’s website called an “exciting moment.”

The Board of Trustees and other guests were present at the ceremony, which was followed by a reception at the groundbreaking site.

The facility will contain more laboratory space and partake in environmentally sustainable practices and materials. Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney said the “updated technology … [will] accommodate a variety of learning and teaching styles.”

The College has been busy with renovation to including construction of a student center, dining hall, welcome center, clubhouse and apartment-style housing.

More than 600 donors – including faculty, staff, alumnae, parents, students and friends of the College – are funding the new academic building. The funds have already exceeded the goal of $16.5 million to cover construction costs and operating endowment. Even more funds are secured in gifts and pledges, and 75 percent of the necessary amount is cash-in-hand.

“This is going to be a wonderful building that fulfills our dream of having a world-class academic facility,” Mooney said.

Philadelphia-based Ballinger Architects and Architecture Design Group of South Bend have collaborated on the design of the 65,000 square foot building.

Besides laboratories, the building will “include both formal and informal social space for faculty-student interaction,” Mooney said.

“The new facility will be an excellent addition to the Saint Mary’s campus,” sophomore Maureen McQuade said. “It will be used to the great advantage of faculty, staff and students to advance the mission of [the College].”

The College mission reads, “The College is an academic community where women develop their talents and prepare to make a difference in the world.”

Saint Mary’s, which enrolls 1,500 students, is home to six nationally accredited academic programs, a large amount for a school its size. These programs are: social work, music, art, chemistry, nursing and teacher education.