Butler University plans new $100 million sciences complex

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Posted at 11:10 AM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-13 11:10:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Butler University is set to invest $100 million for a new sciences complex, the university announced Thursday.

The renovation and expansion project is the largest investment by trustees in Butler's future, the university said in a press release. The project includes new high-tech classrooms designed to promote learning by doing, labs that mimic the set-up at top research companies and work spaces meant to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration.

"We have outstanding faculty, we have outstanding students, we have outstanding programs, and this project will allow us to take all of that to another level," Jay Howard, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said. "Science is an ever-changing discipline, and now we will have the flexible facilities to lead the field into the future."

The first two phases of the project are set to start soon and will take an estimated 18 months to complete. So far, $27.5 million has been raised for the project with a goal to raise $42 million of the $100 million total cost through philanthropic support.

Major donations for the project have come from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Frank Levinson '75, Craig Fenneman '71 and Mary Stover-Fenneman, Trustees Lynne Zydowsky '81, Josh Smiley, Katie and Len Betley, Lou and Laura Glazer, Jane and Robert Wildman, and Dick Wood.

The first phase will start with the creation of a connector building linking Gallahue Hall and the Holcomb Building. The connector will house classrooms, study areas and research labs dedicated to chemistry, astronomy, physics, engineering and psychology. The first phase will add nearly 44,000 square feet and a nearly 13,200 square-foot atrium. The additional space will create a sciences corridor to house all of Butler's undergraduate sciences programs in a central complex.

"This is a significant and historic step forward as Butler continues to transform education for the needs of students and employers in the 21st century," President Jim Danko said. "Our investment in the sciences, coupled with our new business school facility, provides our campus with the world-class infrastructure necessary to support critical skill development integrating business, science, innovation and technology. These investments are also part of Butler's commitment to the central Indiana region as we strive to attract, retain, and develop the talent necessary for our community's collective success."

The second phase of the project will include renovating and repurposing the Holcomb building, which will be vacated by the Lacy School of Business as it moves into its new building opening this fall.

A third phase will involve the complete renovation of Gallahue Hall, which currently houses several science departments and has not been renovated since its construction in 1973.