After stressing the relationship between faith and science, Most Reverend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades gave the blessing at the Achatz Phase 1 Expansion Blessing on Wednesday morning at the University of Saint Francis.
Rhoades, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, went from room to room in the newest part of the Achatz Hall of Science and Research Center, offering blessings.
“What a beautiful addition, right next to our beautiful new St. Francis Chapel,” Rhoades said. “Just to be able to look out the window, and see the mission of the University of Saint Francis, the dialogue between faith and reason.”
Rhoades encouraged students to take full advantage of the new opportunities afforded by the expansion of Achatz Hall.
“Science teaches us so much and continues with new discoveries,” he said. “As Catholics, something we share with many other Christians and those of other religions, we affirm and uphold the compatibility of faith and science. And good theology helps in this. We believe all things exist by God’s wisdom and power.”
The expansion of Achatz Hall of Science and Research Center is part of an ongoing project at USF, which also included the construction of the St. Francis Chapel and the current renovation of the older parts of Achatz.
Final completion of Phase 2 of the project, including the renovation of older parts of Achatz Hall and the final touches on the St. Francis Chapel, is expected later this year.
“Achatz Hall will be a great asset for workforce development for the community as USF students will have the opportunity to utilize tools, instruments and technology they will encounter when they embark on their professional careers,” USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss said.
Other speakers at the blessing included Dr. Matt Smith, Vice President of Institutional Advancement; Dr. Lance Richey, Vice President of Academic Affairs; Dr. Andrea Geyer, Interim Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Meagan Roy, Biology-Pre Veterinary student; Bill Niezer, Chairman of the Board; and Jon Gilmore, President of Tonn and Blank Construction.
Students returned to campus this week and began using the expanded areas of Achatz Hall, which includes five additional science labs, an imaging center, computer science lab, instrument lab, cadaver lab, observatory terrace and outside classroom. It includes three additional classrooms, two conference rooms and other amenities.
Other assets include isolated storage for biological wastes, glass storage and gas tank service room. Students are also utilizing new study areas throughout the building.