Planning continues for new Innovation Center

Building will link Kelly and Loretto halls

Emma Kress, Reporter

If all goes as planned, current freshmen will take classes in a new building during the first semester of their senior year. And as a result, those freshmen may have fewer places to park, but the trade off will be more than worth that sacrifice, according to President Dr. Robert Bridges. 

The Innovation Center is closer than ever to becoming a part of the campus. Since being announced as part of the Centennial Campaign in September, the project is almost ready to transition into its official design phase. 

Bridges described the plan for the layout of the Innovation Center. 

“The dining area will be on the first floor like a university. The second and third floors will be for teacher rooms and STEM rooms. It will be all glass, very innovative, very new. So it’s all very exciting. It’s really going to put us out in front (of other schools) because nobody around has something quite like it. Right now we’re still working hard to raise the money, and once that happens we are very close to starting the process,” he said. 

Bridges shared the current progress of the Innovation Center. “We’re planning and we’re still raising money for it. It’s still part of our Centennial Campaign. And it’s got a $12 million price tag on it, so we have to raise all that first. So we’re making great progress towards the goal, and we are ready, actually, to start the official design phase,” he said. 

The school is close to raising all of the money for the Innovation Center. Bridges said, “We’re getting there. We’re making good progress. When people tell you that they’re giving a gift it takes a little time to actually get the money and we need the money in our hands, because we don’t want to start and not be able to finish. People have made commitments, but we actually need the commitments to come in (before we can start building).”

Once the building process starts, it will require some time to complete. 

Bridges said, “It takes two years plus to build the whole thing from the time we start hiring an architect to actually design the building. The idea is that if we start this spring, we can open it in the summer of 2021. So it takes some time, but it’s going to be exciting. We are on track to begin that soon, within the next couple of months hopefully. We haven’t given exact dates yet, but we’re ready to announce that we’ve started the official process.”

Even though building will take place at the same time as school, Bridges said that it will not affect academics on a significant level.

 “Once they start (building) it’ll go around the school year. I don’t think (it will affect the school while being built). It’ll be back around the SLC towards Loretto. We’ll lose some parking spots, so we’re going to have to rearrange some things. But that’s about the only thing. And some noise, but I think it’ll be exciting to watch it be built,” he said.