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Groundbreaking celebration set for Hoyt Science Center $11.2 million expansion

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Posted on Wednesday, September 18, 2019

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – After months of planning, Westminster College will host a special groundbreaking celebration ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, for an $11.2 million expansion to the campus’ Hoyt Science Center.

The 27,000-square-foot addition to the campus central hub for scientific learning and research is phase three of the $20 million Hoyt Renovation and Expansion Project, which was begun in 2016 to address the needs of Westminster’s dedicated faculty and the growing number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

Hoyt’s new three-story wing—which is expected to be completed in spring 2021—will provide six new teaching laboratories, three research laboratories, 10 faculty offices, a student collaboration space and restrooms.  The Center for the Environment will also be housed in the new wing.

Phases one and two of the project included the construction of Westminster’s new nursing and neuroscience facilities and the Dietz Sullivan Lecture Hall, as well as other structural and aesthetic renovations and upgrades to the existing Hoyt structure, which was originally built in 1974 with an addition built in the 1980s. Phase four will address spaces needed for future expanded academic programming, as well as unrenovated areas from the project’s first two stages.

The total renovation and expansion of the Hoyt Science Center will offer state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research, expanded and improved lab space to encourage collaborative experiences, and enable Westminster’s faculty to continue offering a high-quality education necessary for students to excel in their fields.

“With STEM majors accounting for nearly one-third of Westminster’s student body and all students completing mathematics and science courses, the need to address our STEM facilities was critical,” said Westminster College President Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson. “It is important that Westminster’s education and research spaces match the quality of our faculty and students.”

Nursing major Megan Parker, a junior from Mercer, Pa., said the construction of the nursing department during phase two reenergized her commitment to her career path—and she’s certain the new addition will have the same impact on other students in STEM-related fields.

“The ongoing work in Hoyt Science Center has given aid to many students to advance their education,” she said. “The classrooms that have been designed are technologically advanced and aesthetically pleasing. The layout and atmosphere of the rooms attract students and makes them excited to come to class and learn. New additions bring more opportunity for students to transcend academically. These advances bring hope for the future of new and continuing STEM programs.”

Westminster has already received lead funding for the project: $4.5 million in committed funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as more than 50 five-, six- and seven-figure donors, according to Matthew Stinson, vice president for institutional advancement.

“We are most grateful to each and every donor for making this remarkable vision a reality,” said Stinson.

The groundbreaking celebration will be held at the future site of the new wing, located on the south side of Hoyt Science Center adjacent to Westminster Drive. The program will include comments from students, administrators and faculty. Research posters will be presented by students, and a brief reception will follow in the Deborah Platt Majoras ’85 and John M. Majoras Lobby inside Hoyt.