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Workers set foundation for new LeTourneau University student center

By Angela Ward
Nov. 20, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Anyone awake at 3 a.m. Tuesday was treated to an unusual sight; dozens of concrete trucks rumbling toward LeTourneau University.

The trucks - more than 80 of them - were delivering concrete needed to pour the foundation of the new Anna Lee and Sidney Allen Family Student Center being constructed on the campus, said Dan Fielder, assistant vice president for facility services.

"They were able to do a continuous pour," he said. "The weather is just perfect for this kind of work."

The concrete will take about a week to set and be finished, he said. Steel work on the building, which will encompass 60,000 square feet when it is completed, will begin the first week of December.

"We're very excited about this," Fielder said.

The new student center will include a large community space, food service, study rooms, prayer rooms and a bookstore. It will also include some administrative offices, he said.

"This will bring so much to our campus, give us a real focal point for student life," Fielder said.

Total construction cost for the building is budgeted at $14 million. The project is expected to be completed during spring 2014.

"We're using local contractors as much as possible, meaning this project is providing a terrific economic impact for the Longview area," Fielder said.

LeTourneau University President Dale Lunsford said he is happy with the way the work was progressing and excited about what the center would mean to the growing university.

"This new student center is designed as a place for students from all over campus to gather to build friendships, grow in community together, and make memories that will last for years to come," he said.

Administrators weren't the only ones excited by the visible signs of construction. Tim McDougall, a sophomore computer science major from California, was also enthralled by watching the concreted being poured.

"I think it will be really neat," he said. "I'm excited that the building will be completed by my senior year and I'll get to use it."

It's easier to visualize the size and scope of the building now that the concrete has been poured, McDougall said. While he plans to make use of all the center's amenities, there's one aspect he's especially looking forward to.

"I'm glad it's going to have another place to eat," he said. "The lines can get kind of long at the current food service options."



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