On the breezy afternoon of May 14, AACC President Dawn Lindsay stepped out on a muddy field, in front of a yellow bulldozer, in her polished black pumps and grey-toned business dress with a shovel in hand and a hard hat covering her styled blonde hair.
Faculty and staff of the college and members of the Board of Trustees joined her for a photo in front of the vacant plot of land that will soon be the largest building on campus.
The Health and Life Sciences building will premiere in August 2021 and will cost $117 million. $56 million will come from the county and the state will offer $58 million. Private donations will cover the remaining cost.
“Competing for any state money is really difficult,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “This is going to be very exciting … all the elected officials have to be behind this.”
“Everybody wants their name on this building, and there is a price tag, right?” Pittman asked Lindsay during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Lindsay said the college is still recruiting to find out whose name will precede the title of Health and Life Sciences.
“We’ve come so far,” she said. “Our new Health and Life Sciences building will replace outdated and undersized facilities.”
According to Lindsay, the building will have three stories and will cover 175,000 square feet, making it the largest structure on campus.
“It will have 19 new biology labs, 11 new health sciences labs as well as a greenhouse, computer labs, a lecture hall, classrooms, study and meeting rooms.”
Lindsay added that the building is on track to earn LEDE gold certification, which will ensure that its features are environmentally friendly.
“Our focus is always on the well-being of our students,” she added.
Nursing student Caleb Schaeffer, who is the only student member on the Board of Trustees, said he agrees with Lindsay and thinks the new building will help students like him make more of their AACC educations.
“Right now in the [nursing] program, some of our equipment is 35-years old and it’s tiny,” Schaeffer said. “Literally almost everything is outdated and older then myself … as the cohorts are increasing we don’t have a space actually big enough for all our students to be together at the same time.”
“It will be nice to have the ability to have lectures with everyone together,” he added.