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Northwestern science building

A new $24.5 million health and natural sciences building at Northwestern College is on schedule to open this fall.

ORANGE CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern College’s latest construction project is definitely turning a few heads. Rising 58 feet in the air and just 25 yards from Highway 10 on the west edge of campus, the new $24.5 million health and natural sciences center can’t be missed.

“People are surprised by the size of it,” says Doug Beukelman, vice president for financial affairs. “It’s much bigger than they anticipated. With all of the progress that’s been made on it this winter, people are now getting a good sense of what the building will look like.”

As of early February, the roof is on, mechanical equipment has been installed inside the building; interior framing is completed; drywall is being installed on the lower level; and mechanical, plumbing and electrical rough-ins are nearly finished. Framework for the large glass sections of the building has also been completed, and many windows have been installed. Work is progressing on the installation of the exterior metal panels.

The eco-friendly, 61,000-square-foot building will house classrooms, laboratories and faculty offices for the departments of biology, chemistry and nursing. It will also include increased space for student and faculty research.

Junior biology-health professions major Nnenna Nwaelugo of Nigeria says students are looking forward to the building’s completion this summer.

"We are excited for a facility with state-of-the-art lab equipment, more elbow room in labs and classrooms, and a greenhouse," Nwaelugo said. "It’s almost too good to be true. Our faculty already do such a great job with what we have, I’m excited to see what more they will be able to do."

The facility’s construction costs have already been covered through fundraising efforts. Just a little more than $2.6 million remains to be raised for an endowment that will fund the building’s maintenance, scholarships for science students and research fellowships.

“We have seen the hand of God and the people of God responding to that prompting,” Northwestern College President Greg Christy says about the fundraising progress.

More information about the building and its fundraising campaign can be found at www.nwciowa.edu/discover

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