Rivier University breaks ground for new science center

Building slated for completion by fall 2020

NASHUA – The 35,000-square-foot Science and Innovation Center is scheduled to open at Rivier University for the fall 2020 semester, officials gathered on the grounds Friday said.

“Our new science building will provide the perfect environment for expanding our student-faculty collaborations and experiential learning for our biology and biotechnology students who will be investigating and seeking answer to these challenges,” Rivier Coordinator of Biology Susan Barbaro said during the Friday ceremony.

A plan that has been in the works for more than two years will soon come to life. As part of the university’s strategic plan, Vision 2020, the center will be constructed to expand the science curriculum.

Vision 2020 reflects Rivier’s Latin motto, Altiora et Meliora, meaning “higher and better,” and aims to create a unique education experience for students.

Other projects that are part of Vision 2020 include a new Athletics Pavilion and updates to the Raider diamond. The science center will be open to students in fall 2020.

“We face increasingly more complex environmental and health challenges, for which science will continue to play a major role in offering

solutions to those challenges,” Barbaro said.

In addition, Barbaro said she hopes the new facility will invite and inspire students from all disciplines to join in solving the most difficult of challenges.

Rivier biology senior Megan Munroe spoke of her experiences as a student at the school, expressing gratitude.

“The Biology department here has left me with an exceptional grasp on reality, amazing memories and all the tools I could possibly want or need going into graduate school and my future career,” Munroe said. “I know the new science center will be the next hub for biology students to grow both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess on Friday spoke of how Rivier’s new building contributes to the growth of the city.

“This state of the art facility will expand Rivier (University)’s contributions to the life sciences workforce in Nashua and throughout New Hampshire. This means more men and women entering the life science fields – more research, more discovery, more innovation,” Donchess said.

“The new science facility…will be a significant contribution and community resource for the city of Nashua. The city looks forward to many opportunities for partnerships in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education with our Nashua schools,” he added.

Speaking after Donchess was Rivier Board Chair Diane Mercier: “We are growing our commitment to student and faculty research and hands-on learning to prepare for the 21st century workforce. We are expanding our contributions as the mayor said to the state of New Hampshire, the region and beyond, through workforce development in the life sciences. We are making our mark as an institution dedicated to innovation and discovery.”

The speeches ended with remarks by Rivier President Sister Paula Marie Buley.

“The Science and Innovation Center will provide opportunities to harness one of the great gifts of humanity, the power of curiosity, the ability to seek to discover, to create and to expand knowledge,” Buley said.

“For the dreams of those who have come before us, for the dreams of those who will come after us, bless the work of our hands, bless our board, our faculty, our students and the city of Nashua. Bless all in this work of exploration, science and innovation,” she added.

After the welcoming speeches, Munroe, Barbaro, Sister Helene Cote, Buley, Mercier and Donchess took to the pile of dirt set up in front of the stage with shovels and helmets to officially break the ground.