Fort Valley State officials recently broke ground for the construction of a $16.8 million academic building that will focus on biology and chemistry.
The 59,000-square-foot facility will contain seven biology teaching labs, five chemistry labs, a geology lab and a physics lab. In addition, it will have four regular classrooms, an 80-seat auditorium and research labs for faculty, among other amenities.
University president Larry E. Rivers said the building should be completed by the middle of next year and will serve as a vital recruitment tool as the university grows toward its enrollment goal of 5,000 students.
"We need this $20 million state-of-the-art science buildng because we are growing by leaps and bounds," Rivers said.
As several speakers noted during the groundbreaking, the building has been decades in the making and was made possible through funding from the state Legislature.
State Rep. Lynmore James (D-Montezuma) said he has watched the university grow and finds it imperative that its needs, such as the science building, are brought to the General Assembly's attention.
"What we're doing is for the future of the state and for the future of this nation," James said.
Senior chemistry major Geoffrey Turner will not get to enjoy the new facility, he noted, but said the present one provided him with the foundation necessary to graduate in May and pursue pharmacy as a career.
The new building, he said, will allow those who follow to go even farther.
"I'm excited for them, but a bit jealous also," Turner said.