Randolph-Macon College's new science building, currently under construction, was recently topped with a two-ton cupola. The majestic cupola was attached on April 13, 2017 as students, staff and faculty looked on.
Provost William T. Franz and Carrington Wentz '17 were among those who watched as the cupola was assembled, then hoisted with a crane and lowered onto the new building, which is slated for completion in summer 2017.
"What a great day to see the cupola fly high, takes its place atop the science building and forever stand as a beacon to shine brightly—the way our students shine brightly," said Franz. "This is great for Randolph-Macon moving forward…we have opportunities not yet imagined. This building is about the future."
Wentz, a business major and accounting and economics minor, says it was exciting to watch as the cupola was placed atop the science building.
"The cupola truly makes it a Randolph-Macon building," he said, referring to the fact that four other R-MC buildings are also crowned with cupolas. "The new science building is going to be an amazing place for students to study and learn."
Watch construction of the building, which is streamed live via a time-lapse camera.
The new science building will offer students unprecedented opportunities for study, research and collaboration.
The three-story facility will adjoin the northwest side of Copley Science Center and will house the Departments of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Studies/Geology. A 40-foot-long connector will provide access between Copley Science Center and the new science facility.
In addition, a new Keeble Observatory, currently under construction, will connect to the second floor of the northeast side of Copley Science Center.
The science building will include state-of-the-art research laboratories; innovative teaching laboratories; faculty offices; spacious conference rooms for mentoring science students, including dedicated space to meet with and advise students interested in healthcare careers; and energy- and water-saving technologies along with recycled and renewable materials to comply with LEED "green building" standards. The building will also have solar panels installed for energy conservation.
In conjunction with the college's Building Extraordinary campaign, the college set forth an overall goal of $22.2 million to build a new science building and a new observatory, and to renovate Copley Science Center and Smithey Hall. The renovations took place several years ago. Reaching the target of $17.5 million specifically for the new science building was particularly exciting and gratifying, says President Robert R. Lindgren.
Several donors have been extraordinarily generous in making the new science building a reality.
Macon F. Brock Jr. '64 serves as chair of the Building Extraordinary campaign. He and his wife Joan Brock gave gifts exceeding $27 million to support the priorities of the campaign, which included the new Brock Commons student center. Their gifts also supported the new science building.
Birdsong Hall, a residential facility for upperclassmen, is named for Thomas Birdsong '49 and The Birdsong Corporation, and construction was made possible through their $2.1 million gift. The family and corporation have also supported the Birdsong Peaks of Excellence Center, the Birdsong Townhouses, the Birdsong Café, and the new science building.
Chemistry Professor Serge Schreiner and his wife Linda made a gift of $500,000 to support the construction of the new science building.
Provost William T. Franz and his wife Patty were among the first donors to the new building and renovations. Their gift of $35,000 is representative of the commitment that Franz and other faculty members feel for Randolph-Macon and its mission.