Construction of McHenry County College's $17 million Liebman Science Center is on track for completion this summer, officials said last week.
The 40,867-square-foot center is being built next to Building E on the Crystal Lake campus off Route 14. It will be open for fall classes beginning Aug. 20.
"Most of the exterior work on the building has been completed, and the construction team is busy working on interior fixtures, cabinets and casework installations, ceiling tiling, painting and classroom/lab space details," MCC spokeswoman Christina Haggerty said.
Employees and project donors will be invited to a preview in May of the planetarium's exterior window featuring one of the first images of deep space from the Hubble telescope. A public opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, including building tours, is Aug. 17.
This fall MCC will launch a Liebman Science Center Speaker Series featuring topics such as molecular gastronomy, astronomy, broadcasting of weather and paleontology.
Here's what you need to know about the two-story center and its offerings:
Funding: The project cost is being funded through a combination of private donations, college funds and student fees. A sizable pledge by Charles and Mary Liebman kick-started the campaign, which has raised $6.85 million toward a $7 million goal.
Facilities: There is more than 22,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space for the physical and life sciences, including science labs, a cadaver lab, a student resource lab, two lecture halls, prep rooms, student collaboration spaces and a planetarium. Officials are in the process of earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the building, designed to provide energy savings, water efficiency, emissions reduction and indoor environmental quality.
Courses: Biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics and pre-engineering, and earth science, meteorology and astronomy (which includes the planetarium and MCC Weather Center). The center also will support students enrolled in health care degree programs, including nursing, occupational therapy assistant, health information technology, emergency medical technician, basic nursing assistant, patient care technician and physical therapist assistant program.
Scholarships: MCC will offer up to $10,000 in individual scholarships to 40 students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields over the next five years. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and first-generation college students are encouraged to apply by July 31 for the fall semester. Officials anticipate awarding 10 to 15 scholarships this year. Students accepted into the STEM program will receive one-on-one guidance from a faculty member, get personalized tutoring, work with a professional mentor from McHenry County's STEM industries, and have opportunities for research and internships. Apply at mchenry.edu/stem.
For updates and a time-lapse video of the project or to donate, visit mchenry.edu/sciencecenter.