Gov. Bill Haslam, President McPhee Open New Science Building

Dignitaries at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for MTSU's new Science Building on Wednesday morning. Photo by Max Smith MTSU Sidelines News Editor

On Wednesday morning, more than three hundred people gathered in the atrium of the new Science Building for the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the building’s grand opening.

Among those present were MTSU President Sidney McPhee, Governor Bill Haslam and keynote speaker, senior general sciences major, Kenneth Ball.

After more than a decade in-the-works, the $147 million building is home to new research and practical labs, as well as classrooms which will replace the Davis and Wiser-Patton Science Buildings.

“Today, ladies and gentlemen, we made history,” McPhee said at the opening on Wednesday. “We will build history for the state and for the future.”

“This is a really great time to be true blue, but it’s also a critical time to be true blue,” Haslam said. “MTSU is a critical piece of [the Drive to 55]. ”

Tennessee Senator Bill Ketron compared the development of the Science Building to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s construction since approximately 1991.

The construction of the new building was scheduled to complete in Spring 2015, but finished both ahead of schedule and under the allotted budget for the project. Classes began in the new building with the first day of classes in the fall semester.

“It was an ambitious project by an ambitious team for an ambitious university,” John Morgan, Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, said during his speech.

The atrium of the Science Building was officially named on Wednesday during the opening ceremonies. The lobby of the building is now the Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium after two MTSU basic and applied science professors who lobbied for the development of the project, according to McPhee.

“This building is about our students and their future, but it is also about our community,” President McPhee said as he introduced commissioners  and council members at the end of his speech.

After receiving notice for his video on student and faculty impressions, Ball spoke on behalf of students at the ceremony.

“When I got here for the first time, I was blown away,” he said. “The building is stunning inside and out, but it’s what’s inside that makes me believe that this is the best-equipped building on campus.”

Chemistry professor Tammy Melton spoke on behalf of the MTSU Science faculty during the program, insisting the new building is an improvement for faculty as well as students.

“This beautiful building is a magnet for students. This is a very happy day for MTSU students and faculty and we are genuinely, deeply thankful for those who made this possible,” Melton said.

She added that the building was an improvement due to the variety of spaces and resources available for students, noting that only a year ago she and other professors had to “take students into the hallway” for group sessions because the classrooms and offices did not provide enough space. This sentiment was echoed by Ball, who noted that he often was “shoulder to shoulder with my lab partner” in his classes.

“I’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in this,” Ball said. “I don’t think you could have made it any better.”

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To contact news editors Max Smith and Meagan White, email

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