Workers will begin staking the site and preparing the ground for the Interdisciplinary Science Building’s (ISB) construction Thursday.
The ISB construction comes after more than 50 years of planning. Webster broke ground on the building Sept. 9, but construction will officially begin this month. The building will relocate several departments into one building near the north lawn of the East Academic Building.
The ISB is expected to be completed by 2017. Since the groundbreaking, the full cost of the building has been estimated at $44 million. This inlcudes furnishings inside the building.
According to Webster’s website, the building is planned to be “L-shaped” and will be built just north of the East Academic Building, joining the two structures at the north end of the EAB.
“We have done so much, with so little, for so long,” Department Chair of Biologies Stephanie Schroeder said at the groundbreaking. “Our students deserve this. They’ve deserved this for a long time.”
During the construction, Parking lot L will be closed and areas of Lot K will be temporarily blocked off. As part of the construction, expansion of the Garden Park Plaza parking garage will begin in the fall.
Webster University Interim Chief Financial Officer Douglas Anderson signed a contract with Paric Construction March 24 to act as construction manager of the ISB and oversee the work.
According to Webster’s website, Paric oversaw construction of the East Academic Building, the Emerson Library, the Garden Park Plaza parking garage, and both East and West Halls. The company also oversaw Maria Hall’s renovation.
Leading up to the construction, President Elizabeth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster stressed the importance for Webster to provide a learning place for its science, technology, engineering, arts, math and medicine (STEAMM) programs.
“When I saw the science labs down in the original building in Webster Hall, I didn’t need to hear anything more about it,” Schuster said at the Sept. 9 groundbreaking. “Beth (Stroble) and I set out to make this a priority of this administration.”
According to Webster’s website, studies over the years have forecasted a dramatic increase in jobs in the regions that require employees to have STEAMM-related preparation.
“When completed, the building is expected to help fill the needs of the community by offering robust STEAMM programs,” a Webster press release read.
According to Webster’s 2014 – 2015 Independent Auditor’s Report, the university was issued bonds from the Health and Educational Facilities Authority for the state of Missouri that cannot exceed $26,000,000. The document stated the proceeds from those bonds will be used to fund the construction of the ISB and to pay costs associated with issuing the bonds.
The bonds’ interest rates are set at a fixed rate of 2.61 percent and are payable semi-annually, the audit stated.
Several donations also contributed to the ISB project,including a donation from late Webster trustee Laurance Browning’s family. The Brownings have donated funds to several of Webster’s projects including the Loretto-Hilton.
Laurance and Jinny Browning also donated $1 million to Webster to develop the new Laurance L. Browning, Jr. Endowed Professorship in Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. The professor hired will work to build biological studies at Webster.