New buildings Donaghey Hall and Conway Corporation Center for Sciences were dedicated at a Grand Opening Ceremony starting at 2 pm on Oct. 22.
A keystone event for the dedication of Donaghey Hall was the unveiling of a new sculpture, Otis the Bear.
The large, stainless steel bear figure was installed on the side of Donaghey Hall on Oct. 21.
The purple and gray banner, covering his form the day before the dedication of the hall, was lifted and energetic chatter and applause ensued.
“Many hours, many burns, many scratches, many scars,” said sculpture and professor, Brian Massey, describing the tedious 8-month process of building Otis.
The Housing and Residence Life staff of Donaghey Hall were posted at the doors of the new building, offering tours of the upper floors.
President Tom Courtway also invited attendees of the dedication to peruse the storefronts of the bottom story.
According to Courtway, the six business tenants of Donaghey Hall’s shops have invested a total of 2.5 million dollars collectively.
The opening process of these business has been a gradual one this semester.
Marble Slab was the first to open.
Blue Sail Coffee has undergone a soft opening process.
Mosaique, a full-functioning restaurant is expected to open soon.
“Anyone will enjoy the experience. A true commercial outlet has been needed on Donaghey for some time,” said Board of Trustees member, Elizabeth Farris.
The Bear Marching Band gathered around the sides of Donaghey Hall to perform a welcoming tune, while also debuting their new uniforms.
After the Donaghey Hall dedication ended, BMB marched down Bruce Street, leading the eager crowd to Conway Corporation Center for Sciences, the second dedication of the day.
Automatic doors opened to a foyer packed with people as Courtway took to the podium.
The new science building has high quality labs scattered about, featuring new, state-of-the-art equipment. There are also lights in the foyer ceiling placed to represent stars in constellations.
“This is a building where our students will meet and overcome the challenges of the future,” Stephen Addison Dean of Natural Science and Math said. “With this building, we have the facilities to take our programs to the next level.”
According to Addison the science building is focused on allowing STEM students to fully hone in on their skills.
Sue Griffin of UAMS, a lead Alzheimer’s research headliner, funded the new building’s planetarium extensively in honor of her late husband, Dr. Edmond E. Griffin who worked at UCA.
“This university is a promise, and I’m so glad we can have this building and this planetarium for our future scientists,” said Griffin.
Other individuals who allocated funding were Senator Jason Rapert and Governor Mike Beebe. Complete funding for the building totaled approximately 3 million dollars.
“When we started construction, it was desperately needed. Renovations to the current Lewis building will follow,” said Farris. “Many students had lab resources in high school that were more impressive than those currently in Lewis.”
The Conway Corps building will be ready in January. Open houses are to be expected before the building is put to use.
According to Addison, the department has been having trouble keeping current students from curiously exploring the building before it officially opens.
“This is a great day in the history of an institution that has been around 109 years,” President Courtway said exuding with excitement. “Plans to do even greater things in the future with these facilities are foreseen by department heads and students alike.
Photo by Hunter Moore