Austin College opens its $38M IDEA Center

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SHERMAN, TX-The public got a first glimpse of Austin College's nearly $40 million dollar IDEA Center.

It's a dream come true for Austin College. After 18 months in the making, the IDEA Center opened its doors for the first time for the first day of school. Monday, the community got a first look inside.

Austin College Junior, Yasir Hashim, will be spending all day, everyday in the new IDEA Center and he said he's looking forward to it.

"I think it's a really big upgrade, I like how they have more of the natural lighting compared to the older building. Because I am an environmental studies minor, I saw that a lot of the aspects of the new building that are environmentally friendly," he said.

The new 103,000 square foot facility houses the college's science and technology classes with 16 classrooms, 32 labs, an auditorium and an observatory. College President, Dr. Marjorie Hass said the IDEA center was their most ambitious and expensive project--with a $38-million price tag.

"We are so delighted to see the fruits of all our labor come to completion. We've worked on this building as a dream, as a construction project, as a fundraising project," she said.

The IDEA Center replaces the Moody Science Center, which was the science building for nearly 50 years. Hashim said the older building was cramped and the new center's labs will improve their learning.

"It expands the range of the things that we could be doing and it gives us a more of a hands on perspective of what we are learning," he said.

"The new lab space here means more students can engage in research and have more a greater emphasis on inquiry based learning and we can move more immediately between presentation and material," said Hass.

The old Moody Science Building was unoccupied and the college will determine what it will be used for in the future.

The IDEA Center will be dedicated later this fall.

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