Thursday, September 11, 2008
New science center opens
By BARRY BURLESON
The new Hamilton Science Center on the campus of Rust College is ready for students.
“We’re in the process of moving into the building,” Dr. David Beckley, president of the college, told Holly Springs Rotary Club members who met there last week. “We’re very excited about this new facility.”
He said the science center, which was constructed for $4.7 million, will boost learning and the aesthetic appearance of campus near downtown Holly Springs.
In addition, a $250,000 grant was used for a media center in the building. It will be for distance learning or teleconferencing and will be available not just to Rust students but to the community – such as the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce and Main Street. Plus, Rust will develop a partnership with Holly Springs High School for use of the audio area.
In addition to classroom space, the Hamilton Science Center also includes an animal research area where projects will be conducted in support of the general biological degree and an in-house greenhouse.
The facility is paid for, thanks to a very successful capital campaign launched eight years ago that raised $17 million.
The Hamilton Science Center will be officially dedicated during the 142nd Founders’ Day Celebration on Sunday, Nov. 9. Former Gov. William Winter, who chaired the capital campaign, will be the guest speaker.
Two other Rust College campaigns are on the horizon, Beckley said. One is an annex to the library that will “house museum pieces” and the other will focus on the old Mississippi Industrial College property across the street which was recently purchased by Rust.
“The question is what to do with the property,” Beckley said.
He was scheduled to travel to Washington last weekend to discuss possible federal support.
“We will be seeing if it’s possible to restore any of the buildings and the cost to renovate,” he said. “We don’t know what is going to happen.”
Beckley said a community stakeholders’ meeting will be scheduled and hosted by Rust College.
“We will talk about what we can do together,” he said.
The college president said about 900 students are enrolled for the fall semester which is within the budget and near last year’s number.
“We closed 07-08 with a balanced budget for the 40th consecutive year,” Beckley said. “We do not spend more than we take in.”
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