New science building construction officially started

President Gary Ransdell extends his hand toward an attendee after a groundbreaking ceremony of WKU’s new Ogden College Hall on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. The construction is projected to cost $32.2 million and will replace the Thompson Complex North Wing with an 80,000-square-foot, four-story building. Nick Wagner/HERALD

Monica Kast


WKU held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ogden College Hall on Tuesday morning, where university and state officials spoke of the important work that has gone into the new building.

Ogden Hall, expected to open at the end of the fall 2017 semester, will replace the Thompson Complex North Wing. The new hall will be approximately 80,000 square feet and have 36 new laboratories for science students. There will also be a 300-seat auditorium and a new dean’s suite for the Ogden College of Science and Engineering.

WKU President Gary Ransdell spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony about the many years of planning that have gone into the new building. He said plans for a new science building were talked about since his arrival in 1997, and he estimated that over $125 million has gone into improving science buildings since then. He also noted that WKU has invested almost $1 billion in capital investments for renovating and building on campus since his appointment.

“I’m proud of a lot of things over the last 19 years as WKU president, but one of the things I’m most proud of is the way in which we have rebuilt this campus,” Ransdell said.

Kentucky Legislature Speaker Pro Tem Jody Richards also spoke at the ceremony, talking about the exciting things to come to WKU and the Bowling Green community.

“When you think about the professors who are going to be here and disseminate knowledge, it’s exciting because they will have a new place and new equipment that will be so helpful,” Richards said. “For the students, it’s a very exciting place for them because they will have a new, bright place to learn.”

Goshen junior Tony Piedmonte, biology major and Ogden Student Ambassador, spoke on behalf of students who will use the new Ogden Hall. Piedmonte said he knew he wanted to be a scientist since he was in the first grade and has continued to study science throughout his life.

“While my experiments today are in much more sophisticated labs, and the classes I’m studying in are much more complicated, the joy I get from studying science has never, ever changed,” Piedmonte said. “This new building, however, will bring significant change to the science and engineering programs here at WKU.”

Piedmonte also spoke of the quality of education he received through Ogden and how that will improve because of this new building.

“I’m very proud to know that the students coming after me will surpass the excellent education that I have received here at Ogden College at WKU,” Piedmonte said.

The ceremony concluded with the lighting of a WKU logo on the ground where the new Ogden Hall will be built.

Senior Jonny Garcia of Nashville said although he will be graduating before the completion of the new building, he’s still excited for the new facility and the students who will have the opportunity to use it.

“I think it’s just an investment to continue the education of students here,” Garcia said. “This state-of-the-art facility will help make students successful.”