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Full speed ahead

Barry McNamara
At its winter meeting earlier this month, the Monmouth College Board of Trustees gave official approval to move forward with the college’s $38 million academic building for the sciences and business, pending completion of a financing plan and the successful conclusion of an ongoing matching gift challenge.

“I was pleased with the board’s unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement of this project and their focus on the academic excellence of the institution,” said President Mauri Ditzler. “The new building — and, more importantly, the activities we carry out in that facility — will provide a critical boost to our science and business programs.”

The 136,000-square-foot structure, which will be the college’s first new academic building since 1990, is designed to facilitate interaction among what have been traditionally independent departments. Designed by the award-winning international architecture firm Burt Hill, it will be built in the 700 block of East Broadway, just south of Archer Ave.

It is estimated that the building will take at least 18 months to complete once ground is broken, which could potentially occur later this year. President Ditzler will detail that timeline and answer other questions about the facility at one of his regular town hall meetings on Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall.

Ditzler said that in the coming months, the college will be in conversation with the City of Monmouth regarding zoning and permit issues and will be working out final design details and finalizing a construction contract. On the development front, the college will pursue support necessary to meet a recent $2 million challenge gift, as well as other gifts toward the complex.

“The board’s decision to move forward has immediate implications,” said Ditzler, who specifically cited the effect on prospective students. “This will be another powerful tool in the admission office’s arsenal for attracting a talented entering class this fall. I hope the impact is equally great on those of us who are already here. For us, the board’s action should be a signal that it intends to be an active partner as we work together to ensure that Monmouth College exemplifies the highest ideals of liberal arts education.”