The groundbreaking of the new academic building, Dundon-Berchtold Hall, took place Thursday evening in the empty lot where Howard Hall used to be at the University of Portland. The ceremony drew a crowd of roughly 50 people, including leading donors Amy Dundon-Berchtold and Jim Berchtold (63’).
The couple led the groundbreaking, adorned in purple, custom-made safety vests and helmets, gifted to them by the Board of Regents. They broke ground with shovels alongside University President Fr. Mark Poorman, Provost Thomas Greene, Chairman of the Board of Regents Thomas Arndorfer and ASUP President Brandon Rivera. The Dundon-Berchtold donation was the leading gift on the project — $15 million dollars of the $30 million dollar total building cost.
Poorman, Greene and Arndorfer all spoke about the generosity of Amy Dundon-Berchtold and Jim Berchtold’s donation.
“The very possibility of Dundon-Berchtold Hall only became real because of those who invested in the idea of what it could be,” Poorman said to the crowd. “We have been blessed with the contributions and pledges of many donors, but especially two individuals. This particularly generous couple decided they wanted to move the University from, as they said, ‘a conversation phase to a happening phase.’”
Poorman said a group of faculty members, led by Greene, met for over a year with architects and donors to plan the hall’s design. The 62,000-square-foot building will be home to classrooms and faculty offices, the and the .
“It was intentionally designed with an emphasis on the entire learning experience,” Poorman said.
Arndorfer also thanked his fellow regents and the donors for their gifts.
“Their generosity, combined with a number of other donors, and the vision and leadership of Amy and Jim has allowed this much needed project to become a beautiful reality,” Arndorfer said.
The building is set to be completed in January 2019, and will alleviate the current shortage of available classrooms on campus.
Poorman said: “Dundon-Berchtold Hall is a critical step in the University’s commitment in providing the best possible education for our students, one that is holistic and intellectually rigorous and character focused and grounded in faith.”