Wilkes University broke ground Thursday afternoon on a $35 million science center that will be built right in the heart of campus.
It's not just for students at Wilkes. It will link the university even more with the Commonwealth Medical College and with hospitals in our area.
Forget about the shovel. When breaking ground for a high tech science facility Wilkes University went with the heavy equipment.
The university president was behind the controls. He said the building will transform the school.
Professors who will soon be working here can't contain their excitement.
"Actually it's kind of reinforced by this whole ceremony that it's really happening," said biology professor Lisa Kadlek.
The new building will go from River Street and stretch around right into the heart of the Wilkes campus. Administrators said not only will it be centrally located, it will be one of the most important facilities there.
"If you read anything about what is going to move this region and this country forward we need more graduates in science who can do science and do it well," said Wilkes University President Tim Gilmour.
The science building will not only be for Wilkes. The university president said studies there will also involve the Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton and hospitals in the area.
"We'll have some research going on here that is in conjunction with other facilities in the region that will lead to biomedical discoveries, that will help us with energy and track it's impact in our region," Gilmour added.
Many of the people celebrating are donors helping make the $35 million building possible.
The state contributed $3 million, most of that from gaming money.
The completion date is set for fall 2013.
"I'm surprised it's going to be done as fast as they say. I hope they keep on that time line," said freshman biology major Mark Davis. That way he can benefit from the building. Wilkes has labs, but the new ones will be state of the art.
"They get the job done but I think they'll be very excited when they see the new laboratories and I think they'll be very exciting for future students as well," Professor Kadlek added.
Wilkes University also kicked off a new fundraising campaign to raise $20 million to help pay for the building. They said they are already half way to the goal.