Owen Byer, PhD, professor of mathematical sciences, describes the vision for EMU's pre-engineering program in relation to the Science Center renovation plans to Pat (left) and Loren (far right) Swartzendruber and other invited guests on Monday, March 25, 2013. (Photo by Lindsey Kolb)

EMU Plans $7 Million Science Center Upgrade

Eastern Mennonite University is seeking to raise about $2 million to complete a $7 million renovation to the university’s Suter Science Center.

Kirk Shisler, EMU’s vice president for advancement, said that while the 45-year-old building has undergone various upgrades over the years, the renovation’s technology and safety updates will give students and faculty the up-to-date facilities necessary for successful science programs.

“This will be the most significant renovation project since it was brand-new,” Shisler said.

In addition to aesthetic improvements, the building’s heating and air conditioning system will be upgraded, as well as laboratory and classroom technology.

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber announced plans for the renovation at a March 25, 2013, meeting. The university released information about the project Tuesday.

Shisler said the university had been working “fairly quietly” for the last few years to raise money for the project. So far, about $5.1 million has been collected.

“Now that we’re just at the 75 percent mark toward our goal … we are stepping up our efforts [to raise money] much more intensely,” he said.

The school hopes to break ground on the project in a year to 19 months.

Since it opened, the building has housed classes for 3,528 alumni who majored in a science discipline, including 890 now employed in the Shenandoah Valley.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to get this project completed so that we can continue to prepare qualified graduates to serve and benefit the Harrisonburg community,” Shisler said.

For more information or to make a donation

To make a donation, contact the advancement office at 432-4203 or visit: emu.edu/science-campaign.

Courtesy Daily News Record, April 4, 2013