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McLennan Community College dedicates new science building

Aug. 18, 2009

By Derek Smith

The Science Building is the crown jewel of the three new buildings constructed at MCC this year, facilities made possible three years ago when McLennan County voters favored a tax hike that would provide funds to build the facilities that change the face of the MCC campus. President Dennis Michaelis kicked off yesterday's ribbon cutting by thanking the people who made it possible.

Voters passed the bond that provided what is now the largest building on campus. At 102,000 square feet, the gleaming new Science Building dwarfs the decades-old previous hall that was becoming cramped and outdated. Theresa Sparks is one of many faculty members who will benefit from a new setting. An anatomy and physiology instructor, she will have the opportunity to teach more students in larger, more up-to-date rooms.

In the past, students who wanted to take science classes often had to wait as the tight quarters caused classes to fill up quickly. As the institution that prepares the lion's share of health care workers in the county, MCC wanted to alleviate this logjam and provide their faculty with more resources. Pointing out features in the incredibly large geology lab, Sparks looks around and rattles off many improvements she sees.

Johnette McKown is the incoming president of McLennan Community College president, taking over for the retiring Dennis Michaelis at the end of the month. She says that all three of the new buildings on campus are expected to be LEEDS certified, reflecting MCC's commitment to being a green campus. The Science Building could get a gold certification. It's not only a functional building, but an impressive one. The lobby has a museum that will house artifacts that previously were stowed away from the public eye. There are windows everywhere and numerous commons areas for students to congregate and study. Particulary impressive is the artwork, a stained glass display in the main lobby and a very unique sculpture hanging from the third floor ceiling, dropping through a winding staircase towards the first floor below.

The outgoing and incoming presidents both said they couldn't name their favorite aspects of the building, but the helix stood out particularly to Michaelis. Johnetta McKown mentioned the museum first. But they both spoke more of what the building will mean to the area, and as Dr. Michaelis prepares to retire after over 20 years at the school, he leaves with the knowledge that the facility he dedicated is one that will be serving the region long after he is gone.

You can see pictures of the Science Building, as well as the artwork and double helix on our website, kwbu.org. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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