Journey Pitts, Campus Carrier reporter
Shelby Sims, Campus Carrier editor
Berry College plans to begin construction of a new Animal Science building in May of 2020, with preparations to open in fall of 2021.
This $15.7 million project will be constructed as an extension of McAllister Hall. It will serve as a standalone wing but will attach at the rear entry door. The new addition will extend into the parking lot, but will not have any major impacts on McAllister as it currently stands.
Berry’s Director of Strategic Planning, Todd Bradford, clarified the building’s impacts on McAllister.
“McAllister won’t change,” Bradford said. “There will be 15-20 parking spaces that will be affected, but we’re going to restripe and accommodate for those, so there won’t be any real changes.”
The animal science program is currently housed in Westcott, a 64-year-old building located just past the Ford Complex.
Department Chair Judith Wilson expressed why the building addition is so necessary for improvement of the program, for both students and faculty.
“The number of classrooms and the labs are very much a limitation,” Wilson said. “They are very small and very antiquated.”
The new addition will be energy efficient and feature a 60-seat auditorium styled classroom, as well as two “Technology Enabled Active Learning” classrooms. This technology will allow for a format of teaching that encourages interactive learning and collaboration for students. It will also include eight labs for student instruction and research, all filled with state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
By constructing the building as a wing of McAllister, Berry hopes to create more continuity between all of the science departments, as well as make it more convenient for students to move from one class to another.
The plans to begin construction are dependent upon the completion of fundraising for the building. Funding for this project will come entirely from private sector donors through the campaign “Life Ready.” This $100 million campaign has funded several recent projects on campus, including renovations to the Ford Auditorium and the funding of the Gate Scholars Program. The campaign has currently raised 57 percent of the money needed for the building.
Berry recognized the need for the new building in 2014, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2019 that it became a top priority for the school.
Berry’s vice president of advancement Cynthia Court explained why this financial goal is attainable within the upcoming months.
“The fact that the building was one of many needs has made it hard to focus on,” Court said. “But now 100 percent of the team is focused on Animal Science.”
The addition of the Animal Science building is expected to add value to one of Berry’s most popular majors. Senior Animal Science major Alex Scales looks forward to how the new building will improve the quality of the program for upcoming students.
“If Berry is going to promote this program as one of the best, which it has proven to be, they should have the facilities to back up that claim,” Scales said.
Students and faculty have anticipated the completion of this project for several years, and Berry is confident in the value that this investment will bring.