In the News: 'Augustana to Build $30M Science Center'
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Augustana has announced plans to build a new, $30 million science facility following the largest gift in College history. The new building will be named in honor of Dr. Sven G. Froiland, professor of biology who served Augustana from 1946 to 1987. Phase two of the project features a $10 million renovation to the College’s Gilbert Science Center.
Argus Leader reporter David Montgomery interviewed Augustana College and Sanford Health officials for the Wednesday, September 26, issue of the Argus Leader:
Sanford Health grant launches upgrades for college department
By David Montgomery, Argus Leader
Above Photo: Amanda Johnson and Echo Bartos work during organic chemistry at Augustana College Gilbert Science Center in Sioux Falls. The Center will get a $10 million overhaul, and the College is planning a new science building after a gift is received from Sanford.
Photo by Emily Spartz of the Argus Leader
Augustana College’s intentionally cozy science classrooms are filling up. Science professors are cramming their offices and labs into the same room. Scheduling classes in the booming science department is becoming a huge headache.
A few years from now, all those problems could be gone.
The private, liberal arts college announced plans this week for a new, $30 million science building — one of the largest construction projects of any kind in recent Sioux Falls history.
“We’re really excited,” said chemistry professor Barrett Eichler. “Our science programs have exploded in population and popularity. We’re kind of running out of room.”
Most of the details about the building, including its location and size, have yet to be determined.
“We haven’t gotten that far yet,” said Rob Oliver, the Augustana College president. “Our goal is to define the building and all of its parameters, including where it should be.”
What is established is the funding. Two-thirds of the money will come from a $20 million grant from Sanford Health, with the remaining $10 million raised by smaller donors to the college.
Nate White, the chief operating officer for the Sioux Falls division Sanford Health — and an Augustana graduate himself — said many Sanford employees come from Augustana College.
“They are such a great producer of health sciences-type students and professionals,” White said.
He also highlighted a history of the health care company supporting Augustana.
“There’s only a block or two that separates us, and we’ve been partners for a long time,” he said. “This felt like a no-brainer for us.”
Oliver said college officials regularly talk to Sanford about possible projects and asked them to support the new science center.
The donation is not a naming rights deal. The science building will be named after Sven Froiland, a biology professor at Augustana from 1946 to 1987. Froiland chaired the biology department and the natural sciences division, and helped design the college’s existing science facility, the Gilbert Science Center.
The $20 million Sanford donation is a challenge gift, requiring the college to raise the other $10 million.
It’s the largest single donation the college has ever received.
Oliver said he hopes to break ground on the Froiland building in about a year.
The new facility will help relieve strains on a booming science department at Augustana. Around 40 percent of students are studying the sciences there, while the biology, chemistry and physics departments have seen enrollment increases from 28 percent to 51 percent.
“Rooms are very, very full,” said Susan Hasseler, Augustana’s dean. “Scheduling becomes a challenge for lab space.”
The boom has stressed the 46-year-old Gilbert Science Center.
“What we are lacking is the modern laboratory spaces and teaching laboratories that can really make that the best it can be,” Oliver said.
Once the Froiland building is complete, the college plans a second phase: a $10 million renovation of the Gilbert Science Center. That takes the entire project to $40 million.
In the meantime, the planning process begins. College officials plan to work with faculty and students to come up with a list of what people want in the new building.
“There are lots of things that we are interested in,” Eichler said. “I’ve seen science buildings designed, and people spend lots of money, only to go, ‘I guess we should have had that in here.’ We have to do this right.”
In the below video clip, President Rob Oliver talks about Augustana's plans to build a new, $30 million science facility following a challenge gift from Sanford Health, the largest gift in College history. The new building will be named in honor of Dr. Sven G. Froiland, professor of biology who served Augustana from 1946 to 1987. Phase two of the project features a $10 million renovation to the College's Gilbert Science Center. Learn more at www.augie.edu/science.