St. Vincent College celebrates construction milestone for science hall addition
St. Vincent College marked a major milestone in the development of its engineering and biomedical sciences facility, hosting a mid-construction “topping-off” ceremony Tuesday for the new James F. Will Hall.
Continuing a tradition in the building trades, general contractor Jendoco Construction Corp. and Century Steel Erectors affixed an evergreen tree and an American flag to a 7-foot beam and hoisted it to the roof of the two-story, 11,260-square-foot addition on the western side of the Sis and Herman Dupre Science Pavilion.
The ceremony, which included staff, students and construction workers signing the beam, celebrated completion of the hall's steel skeleton — which came early thanks to spring-like weather. Katey Andaloro, project manager for Jendoco, said crews are expected to place the final beam Wednesday before completing the structure's “envelope” of masonry, brick and corrugated steel roofing.
Officials with the college and the contractor agree that construction is running on time, within the $4.5 million budget and should be completed for the fall semester.
Aside from a few days of snow, “the weather has been a construction dream,” Andaloro said.
The new hall will connect on both floors to the existing science pavilion and will house laboratory and classroom space for two growing degree programs. According to Suzanne English, vice president of admission, marketing and communications, a four-year engineering science major last year gained five areas of specialization — chemical, environmental, materials, mechanical and software. An integrated science major introduced last semester has seen growing demand for its allied health concentration.
“This structure will provide state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories to accommodate human anatomy teaching in the biomedical sciences and dedicated space for our growing engineering program,” college President Brother Norman W. Hipps said.
On the first floor, 1,050 square feet will be dedicated to the anatomy lab, where up to six surgical stations will provide a simulated operating environment for students and training opportunities for orthopedic surgeons and medical device suppliers. There will be a 1,430-square-foot support area and a smaller lab where undergraduates can work on senior projects.
On the second floor, an engineering design lab will occupy 1,200 square feet alongside an 840-square-foot classroom and a smaller computer modeling lab.
Several faculty members will transfer to the new building. The college plans to hire a lab manager and employ undergraduates as lab assistants.
Stephen M. Jodis, dean of St. Vincent's school of natural sciences, mathematics and computing, said the new building will include flexible space for potential future expansion of programs. While no decision has been made, college officials have considered the feasibility of adding a nursing program.
“Funding is coming in well, allowing the construction to continue,” said the Rt. Rev. Douglas R. Nowicki, chancellor of the college and archabbot of St. Vincent Archabbey.
The college is applying through the Latrobe Industrial Development Authority for a $1.5 million grant from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to supplement fundraising and private gifts for the project. One of the major project donors is Will, who has lent his name to the building and served as the college's first lay president from 2000 to 2006.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer.