When Union College student Erome Hankore worked in labs for her science classes, much of the equipment was out-of-date and sometimes didn't work.
The labs were in Jorgensen Hall, home of the Division of Science and Mathematics for 66 years.
Future Union College students interested in science and math won't have to worry about cramped classrooms or old equipment.
Union College officially launched a campaign Thursday to support the construction of a new complex to replace Jorgensen Hall. The plans call for a 55,000-square-foot, two-story building with labs and learning spaces for biology, physics and mathematics.
The total cost, including infrastructure upgrades, new parking and landscaping, will be $20 million.
"We have an extremely exciting and fun project," Union College Board of Trustees member and campaign chair Kent Thompson said at a news conference, which included remarks from Mayor Chris Beutler and state Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln.
The "Our Promising Future" campaign aims to raise $14.5 million for the project. Donors have already raised $11 million, with $7.5 million coming from five donors who each gave at least $1 million. Eighty-seven percent of Union College board members and employees also contributed to the campaign.
"This is something the entire campus has been involved in," Union College president David Smith said.
More than 60 percent of Union College students are in programs requiring science and math classes, including the college's two largest majors -- nursing and international rescue and relief. The new building will have a 126-seat amphitheater and a portable fume hood for science demonstrations.
"If things are faster and up-to-date, you are keeping up with the science world," Hankore said.
The building represents a "new investment in Lincoln," Beutler said. Fulton suggested members of the audience drive by 48th and Prescott streets to look at Union College.
"They're doing great things there," Fulton said.
The building will be on the north side of campus between Rees Hall, Larson Lifestyle Center and the Don Love Building.
Plans call for groundbreaking to take place in spring 2012 with completion of the project in summer 2013.