Official groundbreaking for a new science complex to occur Oct. 3

The science expansion will officially break ground October 3. Photo courtesy of


The $100 million science expansion and renovation of Gallahue Hall and Holcomb Building is set to officially break ground on Oct. 3. 

A ceremony will be held at the Gallahue Hall academic quad at 4:45 p.m. that day to mark the occasion. Several staff and faculty members, students and honorary guests will speak at the ceremony, including Butler University president James Danko, biology professor Sean Borth, Madison Unger, a sophomore biochemistry major, and Claire Fiddean-Green, president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and a donor to the science expansion.

The entire construction project, the largest investment Butler has made in history, is expected to take 18 months. Phases I and II are currently underway and $29.5 million has already been raised.

The goal is to raise at least $42 million of the $100 million total cost through philanthropic donations.

One of the key renovations will occur in the science library, or “Sci Li,” as known by many students. Currently a two-story library, it will be converted to a single floor and the second floor will be used as classroom space. The front of the library will have a 13,200 square-foot glass atrium, creating the new facade of the unnamed science complex. The name is still yet to be determined and will likely be based on a significant donation to the project.

Phase I consists of connecting Gallahue Hall and Holcomb Building, while adding about 44,000 square feet to the buildings. This connector building will be home to refurbished classrooms and laboratories, as well as study spaces for all students to use. 

Jay Howard, dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences, said the renovation will make sure that the laboratories will be adaptable to different classes and research labs. 

“The building needs to be built flexible because science, knowledge and needs keep on changing,” Howard said. “We need to design a lab that will prepare students for the labor market.” 

Howard said the renovations are going to double the amount of lab space, and in a way that allows “cross-disciplinary communication.”

Assistant biology professor Sean Berthrong said he is looking forward to the new facility.

“We will quite literally and metaphorically break down the walls between disciplines, between classwork and research, and between discovery and teaching,” Berthrong said in the Butler press release. “It will be amazing to have a building that is as ambitious and as interdisciplinary as our students and faculty.”

The skywalk from Jordan Hall to Gallahue will be closed for part of the construction, likely just Phase I. Sections of each building will be closed for different nine-month increments of the 18-month project time, as to not restrict access to spaces and classrooms in both Holcomb and Gallahue at the same time. 

Staff reporter Miriam Rimawi also contributed to this story. 


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