Fort Lewis College this week announced its first major donation to fund the construction of a new Geosciences, Physics and Engineering Building.
The college will receive $602,000 from the Fort Lewis College Foundation executive board, which acts as the fundraising arm for the school.
The school must raise about $4.2 million of the project's $35.3 million price tag. The rest of the money - $31.1 million - has come from the state, with the last round of funding received this summer.
With the recent donation, the school has another $3.6 million to go in fundraising. The building is scheduled to open in fall 2016.
"We have our fundraising team, and that's their top priority right now, raising money for the GPE Hall," said Mitch Davis, FLC spokesman.
Davis said the school has pledges for additional donations, with announcements coming.
"What a great statement by our foundation board in support of students and employers in Colorado and the Four Corners region," said FLC President Dene Kay Thomas. "The Foundation continues to make a difference at FLC through their time, talent and treasure."
The project has been in the works for more than a decade, with its roots dating back to the early 2000s. College officials identified a need for a new science building on the campus. But in 2008, the economy tanked, eliminating all hope for state funding.
Since then, the science and engineering programs offered by the college have remained popular, with an employment rate for graduates standing at more than 90 percent. But the school is quickly outgrowing its current building.
"We are pleased to continue to fulfill our mission in support of Fort Lewis College," said Gene Bradley, chairman of the FLC Foundation board. "The impact of the GPE Hall on the FLC geosciences, physics and engineering programs will be huge for FLC, those who employ our graduates and for generations of students to come."