Hundreds turned out at Oakton Community College on Thursday for the groundbreaking ceremony for the new 93,000 square-foot Science and Health Careers Center. The $39 million project is the first part of the college’s five-year facilities master plan, totaling $68.5 million, and is expected to be completed in 2014.
The new facility will sit on the northeast side of campus next to the lake. Sophisticated labs, enhanced technology and abundant lab preparation and storage space are among features mentioned in a press release from the college. The science and healthcare building will house Oakton’s biology, chemistry, earth science, medical laboratory technology, nursing, physics, physiology and physical therapy assistant programs.
Margaret Lee, president of Oakton, thanked all the groups of people that contributed to the planning for the facility including faculty and staff.
In an interview with Patch, Lee said she thought science technology, engineering, math and the health fields were critical today.
“And I cannot conceive of a time when they won’t be critical,” Lee said. “So I think that we’re building for our present needs, but we’re also anticipating the future.”
Lee said the learning spaces created for students mattered, and everything about the new building was intentional. She said every lab would have another space attached to it, what they call soft learning spaces, where faculty and students can meet outside the classroom after class.
Lee said while other new facilities built in the last four to five years have addresses the same learning needs, Oakton’s new facility was special, in part, because it embodied the sense of community at the college.
“I think architecturally, the nature of the materials that are used, the way the building has been planned is truly reflective of the spirit of Oakton,” Lee said.
Mayor Martin Moylan also spoke at the event. Moylan told the crowd, today’s economy is driven by technology and medical sciences.
“This wonderful building will cultivate skills and minds capable of creating and building these careers,” Moylan said. “What a wonderful resource for our city. Oakton’s future commitment to redevelopment is indicative of institutions that have foresight, plans and cares about our environment.”