By William Kincaid
Wright State University-Lake Campus on Wednesday announced an $8 million renovation and expansion project, set in motion by a $2 million local contribution.
Campus officials held a luncheon with local donors to kick off a fundraising campaign. The construction project will include a new science wing and multipurpose center, in addition to extensive classroom renovations.
"What a wonderful day," Wright State University President Kim Goldenberg told the crowd. "This is an historic occasion for the Lake Campus."
Dean Anita Curry-Jackson said the project -- which will be the first major campus updating and expansion initiative in 25 years -- will include four primary stages focusing on new science labs, updated classrooms, a new location for student services and a new multipurpose center.
"This is a time for much excitement and celebration," she said. The construction project will increase the size of the campus by 12,200 square feet and include renovations to 27,860 square feet of existing facilities. Student capacity will increase from 910 to nearly 1,500.
According to campus officials, the $8 million project, in which the Lake Campus already has gathered $4 million through state funding, will be further financed by a capital campaign seeking an additional $4 million in private donations.
Curry-Jackson announced $3.3 million in private donations already has been committed, which means the campus needs only $700,000 more before construction can begin.
The $3.3 million includes a $2 million donation from the James F. Dicke family, which owns Crown Equipment Corp.
Family representative Katy Dicke, who also serves on the Western Ohio Educational Foundation board of trustees, was greeted with a standing ovation at the luncheon before unveiling two conceptual renderings of the proposed James F. Dicke Hall and the James F. Dicke Academic Center.
"The last 10 years I've seen enrollment soar," she said. "Expansion is so necessary and so important ... we absolutely support this institution. We are very happy to do our part in the campaign."
The James F. Dicke Hall will become the new multipurpose center, constructed on the south end of the campus and overlooking Grand Lake. It will accommodate 300 people and will be used for a variety of events, including performances and lectures
Dicke stressed the multipurpose center will never be an inactive space, as students will be able to congregate and study, while "pondering on the significance of the road they've started on."
The James F. Dicke Academic Center will be the renovation and combination of Andrews Hall and Dwyer Hall. While the two halls will maintain their separate identities, according to a press release, they will be combined into a new entity. The academic center also will become the new campus entrance.
"It's like walking into a maze," Assistant Dean for Development Thomas A Knapke said about the campus' current setup. "There's no one there to greet you."
After Dicke unveiled the plans and presented her check, Curry-Jackson introduced Dennis Lee, a senior manager for Celina Aluminum Precision Technology (CAPT), who spoke on behalf of CAPT's $250,000 donation for a new science wing.
Because CAPT relies on cutting-edge technology, according to Lee, the company decided to finance the new science wing. It will include state-of-the-art labs with advanced technology and modern infrastructure.
During the luncheon, more than 35 business and private citizens were also recognized for the contributions they already made to the campaign.
Knapke and Curry-Jackson both said they are confident the campaign -- which will run through December -- will succeed in obtaining the $700,00 needed to commence the project.
"I'm very confident we will reach the goal," Curry-Jackson said.
The campaign committee includes members from Auglaize, Darke, Mercer and Van Wert counties as well as the Lake Campus.
The groundbreaking for the construction project is tentatively schedule for January 2008. Officials hope to have the project completed by December 2009.