After nearly three months of construction on the new Foundational Sciences Building, Ball State hosted the project's groundbreaking ceremony.

The “ceremonial” groundbreaking, attended by President Geoffrey Mearns, university administrators and Indiana state representatives, was held Friday, at the northeast corner of Martin Street and Ashland Avenue.

“... I say ceremonial because it’s relatively obvious that the project is well underway,” Mearns said, laughing and gesturing to the large pit behind the podium from which he spoke.

Others in attendance included Board of Trustees Chair Rick Hall, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management Jim Lowe, and state representatives like Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) and Rep. Bob Heaton (R-Terre Haute).

The $87.5-million facility is the second of three phases to replace and restore the Cooper Physical Science Building, the first of which was the construction of the Health Professions Building. 

The third phase of the project, Mearns said, will be to demolish  “about 40 percent” of Cooper Science, with the rest of the building being renovated and restored.

The design of the building was a collaborative effort between members of the biology and chemistry departments, along with members of Ball State’s facilities department, architects and deans, said Tim Carter, department chair of environmental, geology, and natural resources and professor of biology.

“We were super fortunate with this building,” Carter said. “We were able to travel around the country … to visit a bunch of buildings that had been recently built in the last three to five years, and we were able to see a lot of do’s and a lot of don’ts.”

Mearns and Errington both said the building will enable Ball State to attract more students to the school.

“My husband and I came [to Ball State] in 1970,” Errington said. “Right then, you know, it hadn’t been too far from when it became a university, and was the Teacher’s College, so it’s really becoming known for a lot of other things now.”

Construction on the building is slated to be completed in June 2021, according to Ball State’s website.

Contact John Lynch with comments at jplynch@bsu.edu or on Twitter @WritesLynch.