Benedictine College to Build First New "Green" Building in Kansas

Groundbreaking Set for June 11

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ATCHISON, KS (06/07/2010)(readMedia)-- President Stephen D. Minnis of Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kan., has announced that the College will break ground on a new Academic Center at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 11. Although Benedictine has been building residence halls to keep up with growing enrollment, there has been no academic construction since the 1960s when Westerman Hall and the College Library were built. The $17.9 million, four-story, 57,000 square foot building has been designed to meet environmental standards that will make it the first new LEED-certified building on a college campus in Kansas.

The new center will be the signature building on campus, housing the School of Business and the Departments of Education, Theology and Philosophy. It is a major undertaking that Minnis said will take Benedictine college to "another level." While the need for academic space is great, the College still needs to raise $4.3 million for the completion of the project.

"A great Catholic college needs quality teaching space," said Minnis. "To this end, we've designed a beautiful new Academic Center to be built on the eastern edge of the quad between Westerman Hall and St. Benedict Hall. This new facility will serve as an enduring symbol of our commitment to academic excellence and our commitment to the environment."

The Benedictine Academic Center will be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built to improve energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to its impact. The building project is part of the $50 million Investing in Excellence Campaign, of which $48 million has already been raised.

A dozen years of enrollment growth has resulted in the largest undergraduate student population in the history of the college. Academic space is at a premium and students often must take classes during the lunch hour and in the evening, practices that were once rare. According to Minnis, the new Academic Center will provide the infrastructure necessary to meet current space needs while positioning Benedictine for future growth.

"The Board of Directors of Benedictine College, adopting our theme of 'Forward, always forward,' made a leap of faith," Minnis said. "They believe our generous and committed donors will step forward as the economy begins to turn around."

The new building will provide:

• A major upgrade for the School of Business and the Education Department, which encompass the college's most popular majors.

• The most state-of-the-art facilities in the nation for the Theology and Philosophy Departments.

• A focal point for the whole campus, and the larger Benedictine and Atchison communities, from its perch overlooking the Missouri river.

• Upgraded and expanded meeting and conferencing facilities.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report for the past three years as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.