The sound of heavy equipment operating on the campus of LMU is nothing new. The beep, beep, beep of dump trucks backing up often slices through a serene morning. It seems there has been at least one active building site on campus since the Pope, Mitchell and Dishner residence halls were constructed in 2004.
Not merely an illusion, the University has been moving mountains, pushing dirt and preparing sites for the past six years. The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/aug/01/powered-by-local-businessman-lincoln-memorial/) has pointed out the University’s business savvy in keeping the heavy equipment on campus busy with future plans. It has also come in handy once projects finally get off the ground. An example of that would be the three new residence halls that are now under construction. Just weeks ago there was no activity on the site, which was prepared during the construction of the initial two residence halls, Langley and Shelton Halls. Today, the footers of the three new halls have been poured and a crew is busy laying each foundation.
I often tell people who ask about our rapid expansion that “when we move, we move quickly.” For everyone who was on campus during the building of the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (DCOM) in 2006-07, that was certainly the case. Of course, with a class of eager medical students ready to start in July of 2007, we didn’t have much choice.
The construction of the Math and Science building has been a little less frantic. The build has been planned to take 18 months with an occupancy goal of next summer and classes beginning in the Fall of 2012.
Since the initial planning phase for the $24 million building, the goal to create a state-of-the-art learning facility for math and science curriculums has been paramount. The new building will contain an impressive amount of undergraduate laboratory space, accommodating biology, chemistry, physics and even athletic training lab classes. In addition to multiple smaller auditoria, the building will boast LMU’s largest lecture hall, a state-of-the-art learning facility that can accommodate up to 400 students. A large student lounge will be at the ready not only for student’s leisure time, but for campus events as well. The facility promises to be the most advanced undergraduate science facility in the immediate region.
However, it would be a mistake to leave it at undergraduate math and science. The massive four-story building will be 120,000 square feet -to give you some prospective LMU’s largest building, DCOM, is 105,000 square feet.
With all of this room, the building will become a hub for all of the health professions and sciences on campus. Indeed, the Caylor School of Nursing is slated to move in along with the Post-baccalaureate Medical Science Program and the proposed College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine. Additionally, among the labs installed will be a much larger anatomy lab for use by the DO and PA programs. The new lab will be a suite of four individual anatomy labs to accommodate multiple classes at any one time, and will at least quadruple the anatomy capacity of the current DCOM building. And let’s not forget research space. Plans also include plenty of research space, including a microscopy lab.
With nearly a full year of construction ahead, the facility is already taking shape as the roof structure is beginning to be put into place and brick has started to adorn the exterior. Covering math, science, nursing, osteopathic medicine and veterinary medicine, it is easy to say this building is going to have everything but the kitchen sink, although it is sure to have plenty of those too!