Knowlton Science Center
contruction begins September 2021
After a pause on the construction process for the Knowlton Science Center due to the
pandemic which impacted the timing for bridge financing, Bluffton University continues
to move forward with construction anticipated to begin this September.
To address the most critical need for lab space for students, phase one of construction
will include a lab-only building to be the new home to the teaching labs for nutrition
dietetics, chemistry and biology. The physics labs will remain in the Shoker or Founders labs. The faculty office wing and removal of Berky Hall, both part of the original construction
design, were pushed to a later phase to reduce costs. The anticipated cost of the lab-only building will be $10 million. It is expected to open in time for the 2023 academic year.
“Now that we have moved through the pandemic and strengthened university finances
this fiscal year by achieving cash-flow, we are able to fund phase one of the construction
of the lab building with gifts and donations that have been received from the Simply
Innovate campaign,” said President Jane Wood. “I wish that we could build the full
building at this
time, but with construction costs and the current realities for higher education coming out of the pandemic, we would be waiting another five or more years to secure bank financing to
build. Starting with the lab-only building allows the university to proceed with the construction phase now to meet the urgent needs of students.”
The lab building has two options for additions in the future, both for faculty offices and an option to expand the teaching and learning space for additional labs as science and health-science programs grow. In May, architects and engineers assessed both Berky Hall and Shoker Science and the buildings were deemed structurally sound for continued use.