South Plains College Administration, Board of Regents, and Lead Partners held the ground breaking for phase I construction of the new Wilburn and Helen Wheeler Science Center on the Levelland campus Saturday.
The 13.5 million dollar project will be completed in two phases. Phase I will consist of 22,789 square feet of new construction that includes a 12,700 square foot student learning center, nutrition lab, physic labs, biology lab, geology lab, lecture rooms, faculty offices and support areas. It also involves the renovation of 21,307 square feet of the original building, targeting chemistry, microbiology and anatomy and physiology labs and lecture rooms. Phase I also includes the installation of a new roof for the original building, as well as new exterior windows.
Phase II will focus on renovating and updating the remaining 29,379 square foot of the original building. These areas include biology and zoology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, lecture rooms and prep areas. A 2,262 square foot botany lab and lecture room and a new 3,607 square foot green-house will be added to the building. When completed the building will feature a cohesive and attractive interior design throughout all hallways and interior spaces.
The Wheeler Science Center is being made possible through the generous support of three lead partners: The William R. and Sandra L. Wheeler Charitable Foundation, the Helen Jones Foundation, Inc., and the Montgomery Family Foundation. “South Plains College is in a unique situation to have such incredible donors that are committed to changing the landscape of the college,” said Dr. Robin Satterwhite, President of South Plains College. “Without their support this project would be impossible. I am overwhelmed by their willingness to invest in the College with the vision of changing so many students’ lives and adding to the legacy of excellent instruction at SPC.”
According to David Etheredge, chairperson of the biology department and professor of biology, “The commitments have been made, and it’s a very good commitment, that we need to have lab sciences in a common place.” He said Phase One of the expansion and renovation will include four anatomy and physiology labs which are laboratory/lecture combos that will be renovated within the existing footprints. A new microbiology lab will match the existing lab. Chemistry will receive two renovated labs and a new lecture room will be renovated. Etheredge said the expansion also will address future growth.