From the Manchester College Archives

News Release

Manchester to break ground

On $17 million Science Center

State-of-the-art facility will enhance

college's strong national reputation

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. (Oct. 25, 2003) - On Nov. 14, Manchester College will break ground on a $17 million Science Center designed to extend the independent college's rich heritage of scientist training and ensure all of its graduates have contemporary knowledge of the sciences.

The Science Center - more than 10 years in planning and fund development - will not carry debt: The college will pay cash from the generous support of alumni, friends, faculty, staff and the Lilly Endowment Inc.  General contractor is R.L. Turner Corp., of Indianapolis, which will begin immediately to clear ground, but will await spring for major construction, said CEO Greg Turner. As much as 85 percent of the contractors will come from northeast Indiana, with up to 60 trades workers on site at the peak of construction, he said. "But the social and economical opportunity created throughout Wabash and surrounding counties by the new Science Building will continue long after the construction is complete," Turner said. 

The Science Center will rise adjacent to the Funderburg Library on the academic mall, its red brick and buff-colored limestone exterior in harmony with other buildings on the 120-acre campus.  At more than 85,600 square feet, it will be the largest structure in the history of the college and home to biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, math and computer science studies.

The new structure will be ready for students in July 2005, replacing the Holl-Kintner Hall of Science, which 44 years ago was state-of-the-art. Science learning now demands a more interactive, research-rich format of student that fosters interaction among students and faculty, said retired chemistry Professor James T. Streator, faculty liaison and building shepherd for the project. Research-focused hands-on study already is the bedrock of science teaching and learning at the 1,170-student Manchester College, he noted.

The new Science Center will directly meet three essential goals:

  • provide a contemporary facility for the sciences
  • complete an instructional transformation in the sciences at Manchester College by enabling faculty and students to engage in innovative approaches to teaching and learning
  • enhance the recruitment and retention of students and faculty in the sciences.

"With today's demands for educational facilities that can prepare tomorrow's scientists, there is no question that this facility will allow Manchester College to continue its leadership position as a college that provides a first-class undergraduate education for pre-med, math, chemistry and biology," said Board Chair David A. Haist of Fort Wayne, Ind., executive vice president and chief operating officer of Do it Best Corp.

Manchester College has received century-long national recognition for excellence in the natural sciences, enriched by several generations of distinguished faculty. Its graduates include Dr. Roy J. Plunkett, who invented Teflon; Dr. Paul J. Flory, who won the Nobel Prize for his work in polymers; and Dr. Gene E. Likens, who defined the problem of acid rain in North America.

More than 85 percent of Manchester students who apply for medical school are accepted. Every day, more than 300 physicians and medical specialists who received their undergraduate training at Manchester make a difference in patients across the nation and overseas. Currently, about 120 Manchester College students are majoring in the sciences.  More than 1,100 current students must take science classes to graduate.

"We are truly excited about our new Science Center," said Manchester College President Parker G. Marden.  "Our students wear shirts that say 'At Manchester, science is a verb' Now they have the facility they deserve. It will go nicely with a terrific faculty, nearly all with Ph.D.s from top schools, excellent students and a culture in which they all "do science!"

"The new science center will give our students amazing opportunities for learning and research," said Jo Young Switzer, dean and vice president for academic affairs. "Faculty helped design the building, down to small details, so the Science Center was designed by the people who know best how to use it to benefit the students."

In addition to classrooms and laboratories, the new Science Center will include a 130-seat Flory Auditorium with the most sophisticated, high-tech teaching and learning facility on campus. A three-story lobby will serve as a dramatic student commons and highly visible main entrance to the facility. The architect, InterDesign of Indianapolis, won the 2003 International Masonry Institute award for its design of the 16.5 million Huntington College Science Center.

The Board of Trustees chose not to touch Manchester's endowment or take on debt for the Science Center, waiting until all funding is secured before beginning construction. "Our donors have so completely and fully supported this project and we are so thankful for their commitment to the college and this project," said Haist.  "As we move forward, we intend to celebrate their sacrifices and we are certain our students will be the real beneficiaries of this great new facility.

"We are also so thankful for the great leadership William Harper, national chair of the campaign, and President Parker G. Marden have provided.  Without their hard work and focused leadership, we would not be able to move forward at this time on construction."

Faculty current and emeriti were intimately involved in the planning and funding for the Science Center, as were alumni and trustees.

"It's wonderful that alumni, friends of the college and other institutions have been able to work together to make this dream of a state-of-the-art Science Center possible," said Trustee William N. Harper of Scottsdale, Ariz. Harper has chaired The Next Step! campaign steering committee to raise $52 million by December 2006 for the Science Center, a new College Union, recital hall and the Manchester Fund. 

"It is inspiring to call to mind the many devoted friends and alumni who believe deeply in the mission of Manchester College," said Timothy A. McElwee, former vice president for advancement who led administration of the campaign.  "Their dedicated support will make it possible for Manchester to continue to serve the common good through our excellent program in the natural sciences.  Our donors have given very generously - some sacrificially - to ensure that the dream of this essential new science facility will become a reality.  It is a great joy to applaud their commitment, as we celebrate this dream fulfilled."

General contractor R.L. Turner Corp. received the 2002 Award of Excellence from Associated Builders & Contractors for its work on the $8.5 million Landrum Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and Social Sciences at Earlham College. R.L. Turner Corp.'s educational projects include the Dietz Center at Franklin College, Westfield High School, elementary schools and the Brown County Public Library.

"The design team's priorities and goals included enhancing student-student, faculty-student interaction and providing space for 'unstructured learning,' said architect Andrew Costlow of InterDesign. "We wanted to minimize separation between science departments, and create a science community and enhance interdisciplinary interaction of non-science students as well."

The architectural plan for the Manchester College Science Center is composed of these components: 

        the north and east will serve as high-tech teaching and research laboratory space

        the center will accommodate laboratory support areas and faculty offices

        the south will house shared lecture rooms and general-purpose classrooms

        a three-story lobby will serve as a dramatic student commons area, as well as a highly visible entrance to the facility

Holl-Kintner will not be discarded; its classrooms and offices will be used by other academic disciplines.

Manchester College, in North Manchester, Ind., offers more than 45 areas of study to 1,170 students from 29 states and 33 countries. For more information about Manchester College, visit the web site at







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