Oregon Public Broadcasting

Western Oregon University is celebrating what it's calling the largest gift in the school's history. Ron and Norma DeVolder and the Lynn Roberts Ramsdell Irrevocable Trust have committed to giving the school more than $2.3 million.

Tommy Love is director of advancement and executive director of the school's foundation. He says the money will help Western construct what will be called the DeVolder Family Science Center.

He says the new building will house a minimum of six state-of-the art science labs.

"And it comes at a time when it's most critical for us. Right now, the state funding is diminishing across the country and obviously here in the state of Oregon and our science program is exploding right now. And so the science center is probably the most pressing need we have right now," he said.

Love says the school is hoping to break ground next spring and be ready for classes by September of 2013. Only about half of the gift will go toward building the new facility. Love says the rest will gol toward endowment scholarships and financial support for the University.

This story originally appeared on news.opb.org.

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