PUTNEY -- When the Nicole Goodner MacFarlane Science, Technology & Innovation Center opens in about a year it will be the first new academic building on the Landmark College campus in the school's 29 year history.
The 28,500-square-foot building will provide the school with new science and computer labs, as well as conference and meeting rooms that college officials hope will draw educators from around the world to do research on teaching students with learning disabilities.
At a groundbreaking ceremony for the new $10 million science center Saturday, Landmark College President Peter Eden said school officials made a conscious decision to locate the new building at the front of the Putney campus.
"When people drive in this is going to be the first building they see, and the appearance of this modern building will make a statement," Eden said. "It will speak volumes about this college. It will say that we take risks, that we invest in our campus, and that we are a progressive institution that is committed to providing the best physical and intellectual environment for our students."
Eden, members of the board of trustees, and Landmark faculty, students and their families, took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new science center Saturday during the college's Convocation Ceremony that welcomed in this year's new students.
Work started on the new building a few weeks ago, and already earth moving machines are parked near the construction site.
Eden said the new center will open in about 11 months, in time for the 2015 school year.
The new facility is being built as Landmark College expands its mission, and the programs it offers to its students.
Landmark College has traditionally offered two year associate's degrees, and in 2012 the college began to offer a four year bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies.
Now, with construction of the new science center under way, Eden said the Board of Trustees is being asked to approve two new four-year degrees in Studio Arts and Computer Science.
And he said he will work to introduce new bachelor's programs in life science and bio-medical science.
"The development of the building gave us impetus to build new baccalaureate STEM degrees," Eden said. "We have determined that students want to stay at Landmark College. In the past students were coming in very briefly because our students didn't have all of the programs they wanted. We want to make sure we can provide our students with all of the resources they need to succeed. They need Landmark College. They want Landmark College."
The new Nicole Goodner MacFarlane Science, Technology & Innovation Center will have four fully equipped life science labs and two math and computer science labs with state-of-art computer and gaming stations.
The building will also give the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training, or LCIRT, added space.
It will have a 45-seat seminar room, and an innovation lab and classroom for Landmark educators and visiting scholars to share research on learning disability education strategies and innovations.
The new LCIRT space will put the research work of Landmark in the center of the college's day-to-day activities, Eden said, allowing LCIRT staff to work closely with Landmark students and faculty.
"We want to reach educators worldwide, and bring them here to see what is happening at Landmark," Eden said. "LCIRT brings in federal funding that drives this research and every Landmark student will benefit from this facility, not just the STEM majors."
Landmark College is opening its 2014 school year with about 500 students, making it one of the largest classes in its history.
"This is truly a ground-breaking event," Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Lewis said at the Convocation Ceremony. "It is tangible evidence of the tremendous progress that's been under way at this institution for so many years. We're building a structure, yes, but also this college is building in many many other areas. It is a symbol of what goes on here everyday."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.