Benedictine College has received a $300,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation in Overland Park toward completion of Westerman Hall, the science and engineering building now under construction on the college’s campus.
The $25 million venture is the largest capital project in the school’s history. Once renovation and construction are complete, the resulting 100,000 square-foot structure will be one of the best STEM facilities of any small college in America.
“We are excited and honored to have the Sunderland Foundation once again invest in Benedictine College,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “They have been an important partner for us for years, and now, with the largest gift we have received from them, it demonstrates their commitment to education and the benefits they see in supporting a liberal arts college with an impressive reputation in the sciences and engineering.”
This is the sixth capital project on the Benedictine campus supported by the Sunderland Foundation. Other grants have gone toward the completion of the Student Union, the renovation of Elizabeth Hall and the Haverty Center, and construction of the state-of-the-art Ferrell Academic Center.
For more than seven decades, the Sunderland Foundation has focused on supporting brick and mortar projects, awarding grants to nonprofits in the Kansas City region. They consider grants for building construction, renovation, repairs and restoration of facilities. Areas of interest include higher education, health facilities, community buildings, museums and civic projects.
Westerman Hall was originally built in 1964 and houses the college’s astronomy, biology, chemistry & biochemistry, computer science, engineering and mathematics departments. As part of its strategic plan, Benedictine 2020, Benedictine College faculty, staff, administration and trustees identified the renovation and expansion of Westerman Hall as a key to the school’s future. Leading science and technology architects consulted with science and engineering faculty over 45 meetings in order to design the best science facilities possible. Construction of the first phase began in fall 2016.