|January 20, 2010|
Wold Center construction reaches a milestone
As the sounds of the Dutch Pipers’ “Ode to Old Union” filled the air, the campus community celebrated the placement of the final steel beam for the Peter Irving Wold Center for Science and Engineering Wednesday.
“Buildings symbolize what is important to an institution,” President Stephen C. Ainlay told the crowd assembled in the courtyard adjoining the Reamer Campus Center and the F.W. Olin Center for the “topping off” ceremony. This traditional builders' custom – which features a fir tree and an American flag perched on the final beam - is meant to symbolize growth and good luck.
“Union is not standing still during these difficult economic times. We are committed to remaining on the cutting edge of higher education and to being at the forefront of what it means to liberally educate students in the 21st century.”
Construction of the three-story, 35,000-square-foot research and education facility began last spring and is set to be completed next year. It is being overseen by A.J. Martini, Inc. of Malden, Mass., which was also responsible for the restoration of the Nott Memorial in the 1990s. The firm’s CEO, Peter Martini ’78, noted the number of Union alums involved in the construction of the Wold Center.
The center will host interdisciplinary programs in biochemistry and environmental science and engineering. Building highlights include a high performance computer lab, state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms, and labs for cutting-edge collaborative research. The center will house a roof-top renewable energy lab and undertake research and demonstration projects related to energy and the environment.
Joseph Wold '10 reads a letter from his grandfather, John, at the topping off ceremony for the Peter Irving Wold Center for Science and Engineering.
“The Wold Center will bring people together across disciplines,” said Doug Klein, dean of interdisciplinary studies and special programs and a member of the building project’s steering committee. “This building is a symbol of what Union stands for.”
In the days leading up to Wednesday’s ceremony, hundreds of members of the campus community, construction workers and Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton signed the final beam that was lowered into place on top of the unfinished building.
The $22 million building was made possible in large part due to a lead gift from John S. Wold ’38 and his wife, Jane. The Wolds have directed more than $14 million of their original $20 million You are Union Campaign commitment to be a catalyst for the project.
Wold, of Casper, Wyo., is a geologist and president of Wold Minerals Company. The building is named after John Wold’s father, Peter, who chaired Union’s Physics Department from 1920 to 1945.
President Stephen C. Ainlay signs the final beam before it is placed on the new building.
Joseph S. Wold ’10, read a letter from his grandfather, John, who expressed disappointment he couldn’t attend the ceremony.
“I’d like to think that father’s naming of this building is appropriate in Union College history, recognizing his 25 years as chairman of a great physics department,” John Wold wrote. “His artistic bent was developed and cultivated in Chinese art during several academic Chinese residences in the early 1900s. He was one of the few who have understood the need for a balance between science and art.”
Other speakers Wednesday included Stephen Dare, vice president for College Relations; Therese A. McCarty, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Frank L. Messa ’73, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
For more information about the Wold Center, including construction updates, click here.