March 19, 2002
GROUNDBREAKING KICKS OFF CONSTRUCTION FOR $11 MILLION VITERBO CENTER
LA CROSSE, Wis-—Groundbreaking for the long anticipated $11 million Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology was held today at Viterbo University.
The 68,664 square-foot, three-story facility which is set to open in September 2003, will be home to the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership. Viterbo’s science division and a high-tech site for distance education and conferencing. will also take up residence in the Center. The architect and contractor for the project is TCI of La Crosse.
The building will be located at the southwest corner of Viterbo’s campus on a block-long section of property situated on Ninth and Mississippi streets. At Tuesday’s groundbreaking, officials took time to comment on the significance of the Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology to Viterbo and the La Crosse community and to draw parallels to the university’s multi-million dollar Fine Arts Center which was completed 31 years ago.
"The Fine Arts Center redefined our campus, transforming Viterbo into a center for the arts for the region. Likewise, the Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology will have a similar effect in other disciplines important to our world," said Dr. William Medland, president of Viterbo University. "As we move into a new century, I am convinced that our lives will be transformed by the interaction of ethics with the important sectors of science and technology. The result will determine the values by which we live."
On campus, the impact of the opening of the new building will be felt immediately. All sciences will move from the 60-year-old facilities in Murphy Center to the top two floors of the new building. The space will feature room for 19 laboratories, five research labs including new teaching experimentation areas for molecular biology, ecology/limnology, and natural science.
"This Center is a dream come true for us," said, Michael Collins, Ph.D., chair of the Sciences Division. "We will have the facilities to attract more top-notch students and the space to carry out faculty-directed undergraduate research that will greatly enhance student
learning while developing faculty expertise."
The ethics institute facilities will be located on the main floor. Established several years ago, the institute has offered a variety of programs and, according to its director, Richard Kyte, Ph.D, further expansion is now possible. "The institute now has a permanent home—a physical place to associate with the it. We will now be able to expand programs and the variety of things we can do including outreach to the community."
Additional offices will also move to the Center including: communication and marketing, admission, the president’s office, and the mail and copy center. A faculty lounge and common area for students will also be a feature in the new building.
Medland predicted that the Center will change the entire landscape of the Viterbo campus. "Record enrollment throughout the past decade has doubled the number of students attending Viterbo which has created a serious shortage of space for new program expansion and classrooms. The Center will create many opportunities for us to resolve space issues."
Approximately $6 million of the $11 million cost of the building has been raised so far, and Medland indicated additional fundraising efforts are planned with alumni,
corporations, and friends of the university. "Tremendous excitement has surrounded this project ever since it was announced five years ago, and we are confident donors will continue to respond in a very positive way to for additional financial support."
The Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology is the latest capital project among a number of changes and enhancements which were announced in 1997 as part of Vision 2005: A Renaissance for Living and Learning in the 21st Century. Since then, Viterbo has constructed a student apartment complex (1997-8); acquired property in Madary Township for outdoor soccer, baseball, and volleyball facilities (1998); closed several streets to create V-Hawk and Viterbo Courts— pedestrian walkways and landscaped greenspace for students and neighbors (1999-00), and renovated the Fine Arts Center which included a new atrium entrance to campus off Jackson Street (1996-7).