UNA hosts grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony for science and technology building

University President Kenneth Kitts, surrounded by the board of trustees and university officials, cuts the ribbon to mark the grand opening of the Science and Technology Building next to Kilby Laboratory School. The grand opening ceremony was held Sept. 10 at 1 p.m.

by Student Writer John Ed Dearman

UNA held the official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Science and Technology Building Sept. 10.

The 160,000 square-foot building is the largest construction project in UNA’s history, said President Kenneth Kitts.

Former UNA President William Cale spoke at the ceremony and reflected on how the plan for the building began. He said it all started with the students.

“When I met with Student Government leaders in spring of 2005 to propose what is known as the facility fee, they quickly agreed,” he said.

He said the university adopted the fee in June 2005.

“The promise of this building behind me is what inspired our students to act,” he said. “And it’s that fee today which remains key to the success we’re here to celebrate.”

All full-time students pay the facilities fee as part of their tuition each semester. The university charges the fee per credit hour.

All revenue from the fee collections goes into the deferred maintenance budget for general repairs and improvement of the buildings on campus, said Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs Clinton Carter in an email.

Cale said the building is a vital part of a larger goal for UNA.

“Universities are first and foremost about teachers and learners, faculties and students,” he said. “This building is a part of that. It is a precursor to the even greater excellence at UNA.”

The board of trustees officially approved the $39.7 million building April 3, 2013, after collecting money from donors. Construction began May 6, 2013.

Senior Alex Kelley, representing the student body, spoke about what the building has done for the students. She spends most of her time in class in the new science building, she said.

“Within this building lies all these opportunities, not only for me, but for all the other students,” she said. “Just think of what possible great things will come out of this building: discoveries, research and the kinds of people who will go on to be doctors or those who will come back to teach here.”

She thanked the many people who helped during the development of the building.

“Your generosity has given not only myself, but the rest of the student body, and even the faculty and staff a wonderful environment to work and learn in,” she said.

Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock spoke about the effect the Science Building had in getting students to come to UNA.

“We attract them not only with great programs and great disciplines, but we attract them with state-of-the-art buildings,” he said. “This building is a large piece of the puzzle.”

Sophomore David Montgomery, who attended the ceremony, said this was his first time being at the Science Building and noted how well the ceremony went.

“This is all so exciting,” he said. “We have such great support from the people of this community, and I know a lot of good opportunities will come for UNA.”

SGA President Nick Lang said the grand opening was an important step for UNA.

“This is a very special day for UNA,” he said. “This new science building means a lot for the future of this school.”