Hope to Begin Construction of New Science Center
Posted January 28, 2001
HOLLAND -- The largest construction project in the
history of Hope College has been approved by the college's
Board of Trustees.
Construction of a new science center received the
go-ahead during the January meeting of the trustees, which
The project, a major component of the college's
"Legacies: A Vision of Hope" fund-raising campaign,
includes construction of a new building that will be
connected to the west side of the college's current Peale
Science Center, and the renovation of the current building.
The new construction and renovation are expected to total
"It's a very, very exciting project for Hope--
there's no question about it," said Dr. James E. Bultman,
president of Hope College. "This project has been in the
planning stages for the past five years, and I believe
represents a state-of-the-art science facility that will
only enhance Hope's lofty national reputation in the
sciences. Dean Jim Gentile, Director of Operations Greg
Maybury and the entire science faculty have done a superb
job of creative planning."
Work will begin at the site soon, likely in the
coming few weeks. The college anticipates holding a formal
groundbreaking ceremony in the spring.
The science center will double the size of the
current building, and will include classrooms, laboratories,
and office and storage space. Peale Science Center, which
opened in 1973, will be updated to better meet contemporary
teaching and research needs.
Bultman noted that the project is not only
desirable, but essential, given changes in both science and
teaching since Peale was built and given the current
building's age. "We build buildings so that students and
faculty have the necessary facilities to perform at the very
highest levels," he said.
"The Peale Science Center has served Hope very
well for the past 30 years, but when you look at the changes
that have taken place during that time, technologically and
pedagogically, one realizes that a more state-of-the-art
facility is needed," Bultman said. "The current facility
also has some infrastructure challenges--plumbing,
electrical, space and air exchange--that must be addressed
in the short- rather than long-term."
It is because the need is so great, he said, that
Hope is proceeding even as fund-raising continues.
"And so there are risks involved in moving ahead--
but there are also risks involved in not moving ahead," he
said. "The former are financial, and the latter are
programmatic, and we've chosen to move ahead trusting that
the Hope constituency, which has always been generous and
faithful, will catch a glimpse of the vision we have for
this facility and will lend their support to it at this
The expanded building will continue to house the
departments of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, the
geological and environmental sciences, and psychology, with
the department of nursing moving in from its cottage
headquarters on 14th Street.
According to Gentile, who is dean for the natural
sciences at Hope, the design will complement the college's
on-going emphasis on collaborative student-faculty research
as a teaching model, with the addition of interdisciplinary
classroom space reflecting the way that the boundaries
between disciplines continue to blur.
The approach, he noted, will also help make it
easier to fit the building to future needs as well. "We'll
have a lot of flexibility to be able to adapt to the
evolution of science as things move forward over the next
several decades," Gentile said.
The new construction is expected to take about 18
months. When the new building is complete, it will be
occupied and Peale vacated so that the renovation can begin.
The college anticipates that the renovation of Peale should
be finished 12 months later.
Architects for the project are Ballinger of
Philadelphia, Pa., and Jickling Lyman Powell Associates Inc.
of Troy, Mich. The construction manager is Granger
Construction Company, based in Lansing, Mich.
The science center project is one of the three
major initiatives of the on-going "Legacies: A Vision of
Hope" capital campaign, which is also focusing on increasing
the college's endowment, and addressing a variety of other
short-term and long-term facility and space needs. The
campaign was launched in October of 2000.