By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Hannibal-LaGrange University has received a major boost in its effort to build a $5.4 million science, nursing and allied health complex.
The university announced this week it was awarded a $400,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla. The challenge requires HLGU to raise an additional $865,224 by March 31, 2015, to receive the matching funds.
"This in an incredible help to us," HLGU President Anthony Allen said in an interview Monday. "It's a great challenge to our donor base to encourage them to come on board with us. If we raise the additional $800,000, we'll get the $400,000 from the Mabee Foundation."
The 40,000-square-foot structure is expected to open by the fall of 2015 -- a year later than originally planned. Allen said the university signed a contract this week that will assure completion during the summer of 2015.
"We actually postponed the construction to make sure we got all the funding in place and so we could qualify for the Mabee Foundation grant," Allen said. "The Mabee grant was kind of the final step to lead us to our goal.
"Mabee has been very generous to institutions in the Midwest, and we're very thankful for the support we'll get from them."
The new building will replace a previous science building that was damaged beyond repair by a storm that struck Hannibal on May 20, 2013.
A press release from the university said HLGU has already received nearly $1 million in donations during the past four months to help get the fund-raising effort off the ground and to qualify for the Mabee challenge grant. Insurance proceeds from the previous building also will be applied toward the construction costs. The insurance settlement is still being determined.
Once the university raises all the money needed for the $5.4 million construction costs, another $1.5 million will be needed to buy furniture and fixtures. This will put the project's total cost at just under $7 million.
A campaign is under way for office, classroom, building and other naming opportunities. More information about naming opportunities -- and how to be a part of the project -- is available by contacting Allen at 573-629-3252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.