Whitworth invites community to celebrate building opening

by Kelly Johnson

Anyone who has been on the Whitworth campus over the last year would have noticed the large construction project in progress behind the library.

Now the William P. and Bonnie V. Robinson Science Hall is finally ready for its grand opening and dedication ceremonies. These two events will occur in the next few weeks.

While the building has been hosting classes since the start of the semester, Oct. 8 will mark the official grand opening of the new building.

At 11 a.m. there will be a 20-to-30 minute presentation outside the building, and then tours will be led through the building for those who have not yet had a chance to see the new facility.

During that time, science students will conduct experiments for the visitors to observe.

Speakers at the presentation will include ASWU President Eric Fullerton, a faculty member and executive vice president Michael Le Roy, to give a view on the project from a student, faculty and administrative perspective.

The ceremony will also serve to thank those members of the Whitworth community who were part of the project, including the donors, builders and contractors.

Miller-Hull Architects designed the new building, and Bouten Construction was contracted to build the hall. Former Whitworth president Bill Robinson and his wife, Bonnie, will also be present at the ceremony.

“The Robinson Science Hall is a huge, quantum leap in facilities from the original building in sheer space as well as the quality and quantity of space,” said Tad Wisenor, director of campaign planning.

He also said that the university could not continue to serve the students in the sciences with the former facility. The new hall fulfills a need of the community, and he said he hopes students will take a moment to look at the plaques naming the donors.

More than 50 plaques throughout the building acknowledge donors who gave at least $25,000.

But the plaques are not as much for the donors as they are for the students to see how much donors contributed for them, Wisenor also said.

Most of the donors were individuals, families, alumni or parents of current students; however, the building is named after William and Bonnie Robinson.

A wall in the first floor lobby depicts a timeline of Robinson’s presidency, as well as a list of all of the donors beneath it.

One classroom in the new building is named for former biology professor Howard Stien. During the grand opening ceremonies, there will be a reunion brunch for the professor and former students of his who raised $150,000 to name the room in his honor.

There are many changes to the new science building from the original. As a number of students may have already noticed, several classes held in the new building are not science classes.

Two lecture halls, each with 51 seats, will always be for students from other departments, Wisenor said.

Between those classrooms, a coffee shop and the large first floor lobby, the Robinson Science Hall is designed to be a gathering place for the entirety of the campus, not just science majors.

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