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Western Maryland science center groundbreaking set College has raised half of $12 million cost


Western Maryland College plans a spring groundbreaking for a science center -- the major construction project in its $40-million fund-raising drive.

About half of the money has been raised for the $12 million center -- still unnamed -- to be located near the Baker Memorial Chapel and adjoining the Lewis Hall of Science.

An April 18 ceremony is being planned to launch construction of the science-laboratory building, said Joyce E. Muller, a college spokeswoman.

Last week, Lehigh Portland Cement Co. donated $25,000 toward faculty offices in the building, one of the largest gifts by a local company since the campaign began.

"Lehigh Portland Cement has a special interest in chemistry," said plant manager David Rousch. "Scientists play a huge role in our business -- and chemistry is especially important. So it only makes sense that we support local programs as much as we can. After all, we hope some of these well-trained area students might someday be working in our plant."

The new building will have four floors, designated for introductory science, biology and chemistry. It was designed by Baltimore architects Grieves Worrall Wright & O'Hatnick Inc., whose works include the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, the Baltimore Aquarium's mammal pavilion, the Walters Art Gallery Hackerman House, and the Brandywine River Museum in Pennsylvania.

Donors can select from a list of more than 50 "named gift opportunities," including: three $1 million department floors ($500,000 for the basement); a $250,000 electron microscopy suite; a $50,000 ichthyology room; or $15,000 for a storeroom, according to the fund-raising literature.

The campaign, "The Defining Moment," began in September and is to end at midnight Dec. 31, 1999.

Already, $25 million of the $40 million goal has been pledged, Muller said.

In addition to the science center -- one of the college's biggest construction projects -- the money is designated for scholarships, renovations to the residence halls, Lewis Hall and several other campus buildings, faculty development, the library, and other funds.

Lehigh is known for its support of education at all levels from elementary school to college, said Western Maryland College President Robert H. Chambers in acknowledging the gift last week.

The company has sponsored scholarships for area students through the college's Carroll County Student Grant Program, which supports 200 students.

It has worked with county science teachers on a unit about cement for the high school chemistry program, with regular demonstrations at the plant of the real-world applications of science theory for students from nearby Francis Scott Key High School, Rousch said. It also provides annual financial sponsorship of Key's Top Scholar awards.

Lehigh has a mentoring program at Elmer A. Wolfe Elementary School in New Windsor, allowing its employees time off to meet )) one-on-one with students.

"We are committed to making the sciences more available and more enjoyable for our students, now and in the future," Chambers said. "We have a tradition of success, and with support like this gift from Lehigh, we will continue to build on that strength."

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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