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Oct. 1, 2011

DWU celebrates promise of future at groundbreaking

A ceremony on a sun-splashed day was a promising start for an important new facility on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus, speakers at the event said Friday afternoon. Several hundred people attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center. It’s a four-story, 48,000-square-foot building that will contain chemistry, biology and physics labs, two undergraduate research labs equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for student use, four nursing simulation labs and classrooms for nursing, athletic training, the sciences and mathematics.

Tom Lawrence • The Daily Republic


The major donors for the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, university officials, Mitchell leaders and local business representatives were among the people who took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking at DWU Friday afternoon. (Ross Dolan/Republic)

A ceremony on a sun-splashed day was a promising start for an important new facility on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus, speakers at the event said Friday afternoon.

Several hundred people attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center.

It’s a four-story, 48,000-square-foot building that will contain chemistry, biology and physics labs, two undergraduate research labs equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for student use, four nursing simulation labs and classrooms for nursing, athletic training, the sciences and mathematics.

“It will be the primary facility in the region for educating future health-care professionals,” DWU Provost Amy Novak said.

But Novak said the building, while it promises to be impressive, will not accomplish the task of helping to build a healthier America, a battle she said Dakota Wesleyan intends to help wage.

“Only people can do that,” she said.

DWU President Bob Duffett called the event “this day of transformation” for the college and the region.

Duffett said the groundbreaking will mark a moment that will be recalled “long after we are gone.”

Other speakers, including emcee Andrew Priebe, a DWU grad representing the Mitchell Area Chamber Ambassadors, and Dr. Jeff Krall, a member of the Mitchell Area Development Corporation and a DWU trustee, pointed out the vital economic role the university plays in Mitchell.

DWU’s payroll is $5.9 million. Its expenditures with Mitchell companies last year were $2.7 million and that will increase with the new facility, they said.

DWU student expenditures in the community are $6.3 million.

That adds up to $14.9 million of total dollars that are made and spent in Mitchell.

With each dollar turning over several times, it creates an economic impact of about $50 million in Mitchell every year, they said.

In addition to financial impact, 70 percent of the nurses working in healthcare in Mitchell are graduates of DWU; 33 percent of teachers in the Mitchell School District are DWU graduates; 40 percent of chamber of commerce members are connected with DWU and 60 percent of DWU students are employed in the Mitchell workforce

“Dakota Wesleyan has infiltrated itself into our community,” said Krall, a Mitchell ophthalmologist.

“I really want to reiterate how important the college is to our community,” he said. “I think it’s one of the best things that’s happened to our community and I’m not sure the community understands this.”

The groundbreaking, held near a soon-to-be removed softball field, had a celebratory air, made even more so by the fact that is was held during Blue and White Days, DWU’s homecoming week. An outdoor picnic was served after the 30-minute ceremony.

It was held two months after the 100th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of Hughes Science Hall, the second-oldest building on Dakota Wesleyan’s campus. That event took place on Aug. 1, 1911.

Hughes Science Hall will be retained and altered for other uses, Duffett said after the ceremony.

He said it will be used for office space, for classrooms and potentially as a home for the DWU College of Leadership and Public Service.

Work on the new science building is scheduled to be completed in spring 2013, Duffett said, with classes held there starting in the fall.

The new science center was made possible by gifts from alumni Paul and Donna Christen, of Huron, and Glenda Corrigan, of Edina, Minn., and her husband Fritz, who is not a DWU graduate, as well as donations from other alumni and supporters of the university.

The Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center will be the new home for the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences. Within this facility and college will be the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing, named for the late Arlene Gates, a memorial made possible by her husband, Ron Gates, of Mitchell.

Mayor Lou Sebert introduced the major donors and had them face the crowd and accept an ovation of appreciation.

“You will always be remembered,” Sebert said to them.

Related Link: Watch the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center Groundbreaking

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