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Seton Hill expansion kick-started by $7M grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation

| Thursday, April 4, 2013, 11:51 a.m.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Seton Hill University President JoAnne Boyle applauds as board chairwoman Michele Ridge announces a $7 million donation from the Richard King Mellong Foundation, the largest in school history, on Thursday April 4, 2013. The funds will be used toward the construction of a Health Sciences Center.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
An artist's rendering of the Health Sciences Center at Seton Hill University in Greensburg.

Seton Hill University will build a 52,000-square-foot Health Sciences Center on its main campus in Greensburg, officials said Thursday.

The project, part of the university's long-term expansion plans, was kick-started by a $7 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the largest gift in the school's history, said Michele Ridge, chairwoman of the board of trustees.

“The foundation's gift helps the university ascend to a new era of excellence in the sciences,” Ridge said.

The three-story center will feature an all-glass cylindrical entrance and interior connections to Lynch Hall, the current science building.

The new center will house a lecture hall, examination room, cadaver lab, cooking lab, offices and classroom space for students in a variety of majors, including the physician assistant graduate program and undergraduate programs in biology, nutrition/dietetics, pre-medicine and a new exercise science major.

The Mellon Foundation awarded a $30 million grant to Carnegie Mellon University that will help the school expand its strategic initiative to address energy research and education and allow the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation to build upon the energy-related work already done at the campus.

The Mellon Foundation grant inspired other donations at Seton Hill, said Christine Mueseler, vice president for institutional advancement.

“We are grateful for the foundation's tremendous investment that fosters confidence in Seton Hill's strategic plan for the future,” Mueseler said.

A $1.5 million donation from the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, a $750,000 anonymous donation and $3 million from trustees, alumni and friends will go toward the $21.5 million cost of the center and renovations to Lynch Hall.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall and take 18 to 24 months to complete.

The center will meet a growing demand in health sciences programs, Ridge said. Seton Hill has seen enrollment increase more than 50 percent over the past four years in those areas, in part because of the university's partnership with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, or LECOM, Ridge said.

Seton Hill announced plans in January for a 46,000-square-foot Dance and Visual Arts Center at the corner of West Otterman Street and College Avenue in downtown Greensburg.

Construction for the $12 million arts center, which will house gallery spaces, a small performance theater, art studios, classrooms and a gated, open-air “artyard” for the school's dance and eight visual arts majors, is expected to begin this summer and will take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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