A groundbreaking ceremony for the Halbert-Walling Research Center will take place during Chapel Tuesday.
The ceremony will be northwest of the Chambers demolition site and west of the Phillips Education Building. It will be a celebration of the Halbert-Walling family’s long-time support of the advancement of the university. Students are welcome to attend the event.
“This family has been dedicated to the students and development of ACU for quite a long time,” said Jim Orr, vice president for advancement. “Having a building specifically devoted to research will highlight what ACU is doing in terms of undergraduate research and create opportunities for students and faculty.”
The Halbert-Walling Research Center is one of three new science buildings part of the Vision in Action initiative.
Orr said the engineering and physics laboratories in Bennett Gymnasium are already open. There will be an open house for the new building in August 2015.
“Work on the Onstead Science Center has begun with exterior renovations and an inviting new front atrium and we anticipate those will be completed in the fall,” he said. “The Halbert-Walling Research Center is next, then we’ll come back to completely refurbish and transform what was Foster into the new Onstead Science Center.”
The Foster Science Building has only seen minor renovations since the ’60s. Orr said Foster has greatly served several department for many years, but the sciences were the last disciplines to receive substantial renovations.
Caroline Gafford, senior biochemistry major from Dallas, worked for three years as the student assistant in the Office of Undergraduate Research and helped plan ACU’s annual research festival. She said the building is an excellent way for the university to show that research is valued on campus.
“I have heard countless stories about how students didn’t know they could or even know how to get involved in research as an undergraduate student,” Gafford said. “Most of them wished they could have got involved sooner.”
Barrett Lewis, freshman biochemistry major from Abilene, said he is not looking forward to all the construction but is still pleased about the update to campus aesthetics and the enhancement of learning that will come from the new facilities.
“The attention ACU is receiving from the Vision in Action campaign is already increasing degree value and university name recognition,” Lewis said. “But once it’s up and running, having access to the newest facilities and best equipment will help ACU students be even more competitive for graduate school and building their career after graduation.”
Gafford said many graduate programs in a variety of fields look at how much research you’ve participated in during your undergraduate when they review your application.
“With research on campus being promoted by the presence of the new center, I hope more students can get involved so that they have the experience graduate programs are looking for,” she said.