Built in 1946 and expanded in 1968, the Foster Science Building has seen only a minor renovation in the 45 years since. No longer can it provide the requirements of ACU's biology, chemistry and biochemistry, engineering and physics, and mathematics programs, whose own success has hastened the facility's obsolescence.
To bring Foster Science Building into the 21st century, it must be radically transformed. The outdated facility will make way for the Robert R. Onstead Center for Science and Humanities – providing innovative learning facilities and collaboration centers for academic programs from the College of Arts and Sciences.
It also will provide enough space for students and their faculty to learn and fellowship while providing opportunities for future expansion as these world-class programs continue to attract the best and brightest students. Whereas classrooms and offices in Foster have been carved out of closets and lab space, the 85,000-square-foot Onstead Center will provide a learning environment befitting programs of such stature as ACU’s sciences and humanities.
Named for the late Robert Onstead, longtime trustee and advocate for Abilene Christian students, the facility will join the Halbert-Walling Research Center and the remodeled Bennett Gymnasium to provide academic facilities ACU needs to thrive in the 21st century.
The combined cost for the three projects is $45 million, of which $30 million has been raised. The facilities are projected to break ground in Fall 2014, pending completion of fundraising.
“Over Spring Break, I went to Thomazeau, Haiti, for a weeklong medical mission trip with seven students and two professors from ACU. The trip to Haiti reinforced my passion – service for the poor .... Someday, I want to live among the poor and use my career in medicine to help them.”
“When students work alongside a faculty member doing basic research, they learn valuable lessons about how to collect, process and interpret data. Pre-health professions students are learning to be scientists who plan to practice medicine. Research experience heightens their awareness of how medical knowledge is expanded, and many of our students express interest in continuing to participate in research as they move into their professional careers.”