Ground broken on “Jeffords Center

Castleton took another step toward becoming the most modern of the Vermont State College campuses last Wednesday.As part of an ongoing capitol campaign that includes more than $20 million in building projects on campus, Sen. James Jeffords, Gov. James Douglas and the wife of former Sen. Robert Stafford joined members of the Castleton community at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new science and mathematics center.

The center, an addition to the existing Black Science building, will include a new wing for classrooms, faculty offices, new equipment and a new 127-seat lecture hall, as well as renovations of the entire building.

In honor of Jeffords’ work to help secure a $1.9 million grant for the project, the new center was named the James Jeffords Center for Science and Mathematics while the courtyard between the new center and the Stafford Academic Center will now be called the Senator’s Courtyard. Marble plaques honoring the senators, unveiled at the ceremony, will be displayed at the entrance to the courtyard.

Castleton President David Wolk, Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Robert Clarke, Biology Professor Mark Fox, Mike Audet, chair of the board of trustees, and Dona Turek, president of Castleton’s math and honor society, also joined the ceremony and many remarked on the growth and progress seen at Castleton in recent years.

“This campus is a wonderful example of how investment pays off,” Jeffords said.

Clarke echoed that sentiment and pointed to changes in Castleton’s enrollment and “phenomenal growth.”

“Castleton is becoming the most selective of our colleges,” he said.

Douglas congratulated Castleton on, “yet another impressive step forward,” and said students can use facilities like Castleton’s to further careers in engineering and environmental technologies to create a “niche” for science and math in Vermont.

Turek said that although she is graduating, she feels that students in math and science are grateful.

“Science majors spend most of their time in this building and they are very excited,” said Turek. “Our eyes are being opened to a whole new science experience.”

Wolk said the grant secured by Jeffords is bigger than any received by a Vermont state college and described the project as, “the largest investment in academic equipment in decades.”

He said that all of the projects on campus have been developed with “students in mind.”

“The students deserve an infrastructure on campus that meets their needs before they venture out into the world,” said Wolk.

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