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Three major facilities at Lafayette representing an investment of nearly $35 million are set to open as the spring semester begins Monday, Jan. 22.

Lafayette’s commitment to excellence in academics is shown in the new Hugel Science Center and Williams Visual Arts Building, whose construction and equipment costs total more than $30 million.

In addition, phase one of a $4.7 million, two-part modernization of South College residence hall is finished, allowing students to occupy the hall’s newly renovated east wing. The facilities are made possible by the Lafayette Leadership Campaign, which has raised more than $192 million since its public launch in 1997.

The Hugel Science Center, a complex for chemistry, physics, and biochemistry, is among the finest at any undergraduate college in the nation. It will increase students’ opportunities to work in teams and collaborate with faculty in research. There are spacious, state-of-the-art teaching and research labs, electronic classrooms, instrument rooms, seminar rooms, and machine shops, in addition to faculty offices and open spaces for informal interaction.

The center includes 40,000 square feet of new construction and 50,000 square feet of completely renovated space in the former Olin Hall. It is named in honor of a contribution of $10 million to the Lafayette Leadership Campaign from Campaign Chairman Charles E. Hugel, Class of 1951, and his wife, Cornelia.

The Williams Visual Arts Building on North Third Street, one of the nation’s leading high-tech facilities for art education and gallery exhibitions, will benefit both Lafayette and Easton. Located where the Lafayette campus meets downtown Easton, the building has 23,500 square feet of studio, gallery, and office space.

There are studios for Lafayette’s painting and sculpture programs and a studio for advanced student artists working on honors and independent projects. There is also a large studio for Lafayette’s Community Arts program, in which area high school students take art classes with Lafayette faculty and honors students.

The new building’s 2,400-square-foot Richard A. and Rissa W. Grossman Gallery will be used extensively for exhibitions by local and regional artists, as well as Lafayette and guest artists. The gallery’s opening exhibit will feature works of American painter Sam Gilliam from Jan. 26 to Feb. 25.

Major support for the arts building has been provided by the family of the late Morris R. Williams, a 1922 Lafayette graduate, and his wife, Josephine. During their lifetimes, Morris and Josephine Williams, Easton natives and long-time supporters of Easton’s civic and cultural life, provided funding for Lafayette’s award-winning Williams Center for the Arts, which opened in 1983.

More than 100 students are moving into the east wing of South College, Lafayette’s largest residence hall. Each floor includes two living units, each with a living room and kitchen area. Designed to promote interaction among residents, the layout is a friendly living-learning environment for special-interest “houses,” groups of students who share special academic or cocurricular interests. All student rooms and the living room/kitchen area have multiple connections to Lafayette’s new high-speed campus computer network.

Renovation of the residence’s west wing is under way and is slated to be finished in August. The west wing will be named Jesser Hall in honor of a $3 million gift to the Lafayette Leadership Campaign from Edward A. (Ned) Jesser, Class of 1939.

The South College renovation is the first in a series of planned modernizations of Lafayette’s student residences. The improvements will raise the quality of all residence halls to the standard of Lafayette’s newest student residence, Keefe Hall, which opened in fall 1999.

Scheduled to begin soon are a transformation of Alumni Memorial Gymnasium into Oechsle Hall to house psychology and neuroscience programs; a major renovation of engineering facilities, including Alumni Hall of Engineering, Dana Hall, and Dana Engineering Laboratory; and construction of the Robert E. Pfenning ’32 and Hazel E. Pfenning Alumni Center.

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