Franklin College will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday on what President Tom Minar says will be a "cultural magnet" for students in STEM fields and beyond. The $17 million project involves gutting the current, 90-year-old Barnes Hall and nearly doubling the space with an addition that will create the Franklin College Science Center. Minar says graduates and interns from Franklin science programs will serve Hoosier businesses of all sizes.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, he adds the center will help groom the next generation of the Indiana life sciences work force. "It's where we place students and alumni at firms like Eli Lilly that are so significant global actors for one," Minar said, " but it's also preparing people to work in small startup and mid-market companies that are the future of life sciences or are the future Eli Lillys."

Minar described the vision for the final product as "bright and shiny and exciting," but says it will also have the accessible approach on which the college prides itself. The facility will be home to 14 full-time and four adjunct members of faculty. More than 16,000 square-feet of the 51,000 square-foot center will be dedicated to lab space and the school says the building will include lab, classroom and collaborative areas that are designed to flexible to serve ever-changing future needs. It will also have informal space and improved technological resources.

Franklin College is looking to raise $10 million for the project and Minar says it is $8.8 million of the way there. Work is slated to be complete in time for the 2018-2019 school year. You can connect to more about plans for the center by clicking here.