Berea Breaks Ground for New Science/Health Building

Berea College officials broke ground Thursday afternoon for a new building to house the natural sciences and nursing departments. The structure, to be named the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, will house Division I, which includes the biology, chemistry, mathematics, nursing and physics departments. Berea’s science departments currently are housed in the Charles Martin Hall Science Building, which was built in 1927 and updated in 1984. It will be transformed for other uses.

President Lyle Roelofs said, “This new 125,000 square foot building will provide an interdisciplinary learning environment, space for enhanced collaboration among disciplines, such as biology and chemistry and Berea’s well-known nursing program, the oldest college-affiliated nursing program west of the Allegheny Mountains.”

The new structure’s exterior design blends with Berea’s historic campus. The design of the interior demonstrates Berea’s academic commitment to interdisciplinary principles. It will allow students to learn their craft in settings that resemble what they will encounter in professional research environments, such as flexible multiple use rooms; technology-rich “classatories”—rooms mixing traditional classroom elements and laboratory components; numerous project labs where students can work together as interdisciplinary teams; seminar and case study classrooms that facilitate problem-based learning; and, research labs where teams of faculty, students, and researchers can explore together.

Distinctive features in Berea’s new science building include:

  • 3D Visualization Lab
  • Optics Lab
  • Central lab core space spanning four floors that puts science on display 
  • Lab support spaces 
  • STEM Outreach Support Facilities 
  • Multi-use atrium space
  • High-fidelity nursing simulation center
  • Digital Learning Theatre/Planetarium
  • Conference rooms
  • Astronomy Observation Deck
  • Multi-Use Discovery/Outreach Learning Center 
  • Cafe Food Service
  • Student study spaces adjacent to faculty offices

Because of its historical commitments to high-quality learning, labor, and service for all, Berea College enjoys national esteem as a model institution in higher education. Berea is highly regarded for producing world-changing scientists and healthcare professionals, such as the following notable Berea College alumni:

  • Dr. John Fenn, 2002 Nobel Prize winner
  • Dr. G. Samuel Hurst, physicist and inventor of touch screen technology
  • Dr. George Lester, developer of the catalytic convertor
  • Dr. Rocky Tuan, world-renowned stem cell researcher
  • Dr. Harold “Hal” Moses, Founding Director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Dr. Charlotte Beason, Executive Director of the Kentucky Board of Nursing
  • Jack Roush, automotive engineer, designer, and owner of Roush Fenway Racing
  • John Haun, nationally noted expert in Petroleum Geology

At the ground breaking ceremony, President Roelofs, who is a physicist, said, “I am particularly thrilled to be part of creating a great new building dedicated to teaching the disciplines of the health and natural sciences.  As Berea’s president, I am also thrilled that we have a strong foundation of excellence in the sciences, a foundation upon which we are building for Berea’s current and future generations of student scholars in science, health and nursing.”

As an independent college, Berea does not receive the state support for construction of facilities.  The College is conducting a $10 million campaign toward the construction of this state-of-the-art new building. Considerable financial support from alumni and donors who believe in Berea’s tuition-free mission for low-income, high achieving students has already been received and the campaign will continue throughout the construction process..

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Tags: construction, Dr. Lyle Roelofs, Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, science

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.