FRANKLIN - A $17 million project on the campus of Franklin College has hit a construction milestone. Officials held a "topping out" ceremony Monday with crews placing the final steel beam on the college's new science center, which is expected to be complete next year.

Franklin College broke ground on the 51,000 square-foot facility in May. The project involves renovating the 90-year-old Barnes Hall and building an addition to the building which will increase the overall space by about 70 percent and nearly double the current lab space. President Tom Minar told Inside INdiana Business at the time that the facility would serve as a "cultural magnet" for students in STEM fields and beyond.

Minar appeared on Inside INdiana Business Television in July, saying the new facility will be critical to the entire feel of the campus. He said reaching out to the business and life sciences community on how the building was designed was also important. 

"We're so keenly aware that we're training the workforce of tomorrow for Indiana and beyond, so our weekly work really with the industry here is critical to us," said Minar. "That's hand-in-hand with alumni and other partners in the corporate sector, making sure that we're providing them with people educated in the way they need them to be, but also making sure we're getting students into those learning settings."

The college says fundraising efforts for the project continue with about $1.2 million needed to reach its $10 million goal. You can learn more about the project and keep up with its progress by clicking here.