The Birmingham-Southern College Board of Trustees has accepted a gift from Elton B. Stephens and James T. Stephens for $15 million that will be used towards construction of a proposed 99,500 square foot science facility. The Birmingham-Southern alumnus and Life Member of the Board of Trustees and his son, who serves as Trustee Chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees, pledged to contribute a gift of $10 million and up to $5 million to match gifts received for the project over a period of three years.
"This is truly a transforming gift in the history of Birmingham-Southern College, and is given by two individuals who continue to do so much that contributes positively to the quality of life for out entire community," commented Birmingham-Southern College President, Dr. Neal Berte.
James T. Stephens stated "Birmingham-Southern's commitment to the liberal arts college education, its excellence with undergraduate science teaching, and our confidence in education for society's betterment make this gift a reward in the giving. Our hope is that the many who teach and learn in this new facility will benefit themselves and those they serve with their education."
The proposal from Elton B. Stephens and James T. Stephens includes a new 99,500 square foot science facility that will house the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and neuroscience. Presently the sciences are housed in the Phillips Science Building and Annex, as well as the Stephens Science Laboratory Center, which was funded by a gift from Elton B. Stephens in the 1980s. Construction of the new science building has implications for many areas of the Humanities, which are also located in the Phillips Science Building, and a review of renovation implications for those areas will be conducted. The College will be working over the next three years to generate matching funds for the challenge grant, as well as responding to other needs as the College enters the 21st Century.
Projected costs for the new Elton B. Stephens Science Center, according to Arthur Lidsky, a facilities-planning consultant from Cambridge, Massachusetts, are $23.9 million, plus $2 million for science equipment and a science endowment, and approximately $4.3 million to renovate the Phillips Science Building for other purposes.