Status of construction on campus

The renovated Holcomb Building. Photo by Evalyn Peacey.

EMMA CHAMLEY | STAFF REPORTER | echamley@butler.edu 

Renovations to Butler’s campus continue as students return to in-person classes for the fall semester. With construction continuing on the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house’s new location on Hampton Drive, and the opening of a newly renovated Delta Delta Delta chapter house, there are plenty of updates to Greek row. In the heart of campus, the extensive construction project that spans both the Holcomb Building and Gallahue Hall is reaching its second phase. 

Holcomb Building and Gallahue Hall

Butler’s total overhaul of the science complex is finally nearing its completion. Part of the expansive plan to re-imagine Butler’s science buildings reached its second phase earlier this summer by opening the newly-renovated Holcomb Building. 

The updated Holcomb Building boasts a large, open atrium, new, flexible classroom space and a renovated science library. The Holcomb Building will house the psychology, physics and astronomy and dual-degree engineering departments, along with other faculty and classes across the college of liberal arts and sciences and the university. 

Luanne McNulty, chair of Butler’s chemistry department, is the liaison between the faculty and those responsible for Holcomb and Gallahue’s construction. Currently, the focus of construction is on Gallahue Hall, with plans for completion in Dec. 2022, and a formal opening just in time for spring semester 2023, said McNulty. Construction is currently only focusing on the north end of the building, which allows faculty and students to use the south end. McNulty said although construction has been at times disruptive, forcing students and faculty to make adjustments to their work spaces, the end goal will be well worth it. 

“Part of the struggle is that we are limited in classrooms based on the construction,” McNulty said. “So in December or January of 2023 when the project is complete, we will have created 11 additional classrooms for the college, or for the university, because it’s not just [liberal arts and sciences] that uses those classrooms.” 

When the project is finished, Gallahue and Holcomb will still be connected, and Gallahue will primarily be a space for the biology and chemistry departments. There will also be new shared lab space for the molecular chemistry and molecular biology departments, a prospect McNulty said will benefit both faculty and students. 

“That’s not ever been done here,” said McNulty. “Those labs are designed to house faculty from both departments, because they have similar research… the techniques and the skills that they do and teach their students are all similar, so we’re going to have a mix in that space, which is really exciting.” 

Megan Burton-Krieger, lead development officer for the science project, said the science complex is Butler’s largest construction project to date. Due to the project’s size, fundraising has been essential. The total projected cost of the renovations is 100-million-dollars, Burton-Krieger said, and the department of development hopes to raise 42 million of the total. Burton-Krieger said they have already raised a little over 30 million dollars. 

“For me, because my job is about getting people excited about [construction], seeing it being constructed has been really compelling to donors,” Burton-Krieger said. 

Burton-Krieger said she was excited for the science department to have a building that matched the quality of the STEM students and faculty’s work. She also said it was important that Butler’s lab space was similar to spaces across the community. 

“We went to Lilly, and Roche, and places to see how they used their lab space, so we could construct teaching and learning environments that mimic what students will encounter in the real world,” Burton-Krieger said. “This project is bringing those facilities to Butler.”

Delta Delta Delta

Gallahue isn’t the only major construction finishing up on campus. The Delta Delta Delta sorority house finally opened for chapter members to live in this fall. Frannie Brewer, junior chemistry and Spanish major and Tri Delta member, said the new building will help bring current Tri Delta members and future recruits closer. 

“I think during recruitment it will bring us together a little bit more because we have something to talk about, we have something to show other people, kind of show off,” Brewer said. “We’re all really proud of it.” 

A new dining room was added to the house, and the formal and informal living areas were updated. Additional bedrooms to accommodate more members were also added. 

Lambda Chi Alpha 

The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house renovation is also in full swing. Nathan Gray, Lambda Chi president, said the construction is nearing the home stretch. 

The house is well underway with most of the drywalling already completed throughout the whole house,” Gray said. “In the next few weeks, the rock that stands in front of the old house will be moved to the new house. Construction is moving along and soon it will be time to put a fresh coat of paint on and move in the furniture.” 

Gray said this marks an exciting move for Lambda Chi, from its previous home on Sunset Avenue, to a highly visible spot surrounded by other Greek houses on Hampton Drive. 

“The new chapter house will be a space for members to gather and grow,” Gray said. “We want to create a safe space where everyone feels welcomed.”

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