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Sep 28, 2012

Delaware Valley College breaks ground on the Life Sciences Building

Above: The groundbreaking ceremony.

Delaware Valley College broke ground on its 38,000-square-foot Life Sciences Building Friday, Sept. 28.

“This is a historic day for Delaware Valley College and day that carries great significance,” said College President Dr. Joseph S. Brosnan at the groundbreaking ceremony.

He said the Life Sciences Building embodies the forward movement and progress on campus.

“This building shouts out that we are bold, determined, and able to build this $15 million structure during these sad economic times,” said Dr. Brosnan.

The Building will include: an auditorium, an atrium, labs, conference rooms, and classrooms. On the grounds will be a natural amphitheater for concerts, events and gatherings. It is expected to be complete and ready to use for the spring 2014 semester.

It will sit to the side of the quad between the original gate entrance and James Work Hall and will be visible to motorists on Route 202.

Dr. Benjamin Rusiloski, dean of the School of Life and Physical Sciences, was “ecstatic” when he first learned the project was going to happen.

“The building is a symbol of DelVal’s commitment to academic excellence and evidence of what the College can achieve when it shares a common vision,” said Dr. Rusiloski.

He points out that the “science” building will not be just for science. All majors will be using the classrooms and facilities.

“It will be a true interdisciplinary facility,” said Dr. Rusiloski. “The labs are designed so that they can be used by multiple departments.”

Above: Guests in attendance

The construction will cost $15 million. The plan took on life with support from a $3.2 million state grant and the Gemmill gift. The College and its supporters will fund the remainder of the cost. Joseph Umosella, a DelVal alumnus, has committed $1 million toward the building, and its atrium will be named in his honor.

Once the construction process is further along, a camera mounted at the site will provide a livestream to the College website, as well as time-lapse photography to watch the construction over time.

Kimmel Bogrette, a firm in Conshohocken, Pa., is the architect. IMC Construction is the general contractor. The design, while somewhat modern, draws on the style of other campus buildings.

The design features a lot of glass, to allow for natural light to come through. One of the most unique elements is a glass-enclosed staircase that extends outward in a semi-circle on the left side of the building. A person on the staircase will be able to look out onto the historic gates of the campus.

The atrium fronts the 450-seat auditorium, which will be a place to host both college and community events. The auditorium will be used for lectures, but it also will bring DelVal its first true performance space. It is the likely venue for a forthcoming speakers’ series, concerts, and other weekend events.

Building Project Manager Steve Cantrell called the project another example of the momentum building on campus.

“It makes a statement that Delaware Valley College is moving forward,” he said. “It allows people to see the vision physically come into play.”

Dr. Brosnan said the structure will help bring attention to the College.

“This building is going to turn heads and attract attention. It’s attention that is well deserved,” said Dr. Brosnan. “I’m proud of what we’re all building…This is a good day for DelVal’s students, faculty, and the surrounding community.”

Class of 2013 President Shanae Ninehouser is excited about the building and the opportunities it will bring for future DelVal students.

“I just read an article about it, and before I didn’t realize the performance space was there,” said Ninehouser who was in a musical that was performed in the Student Center. “Knowing all the struggles we had, I thought it was really cool to see that they’ll have a new performance space for the Chorale, and other campus groups.”