The University's largest donors-Carl and Ruth Shapiro-matched their previous record-donation, contributing $25 million toward rebuilding the science center. The $154 million Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, the University's largest capital proposal ever, is slated to break ground at the end of the summer, University President Jehuda Reinharz said.

Reinharz said that the donation is "very significant" and said it launched the University "with a big bang into this project."

The donation ties for the largest gift in University history, matching the amount the Shapiros donated to construct the Shapiro Campus Center in 2000.

"What's critical for any project is a significant lead gift," Vice President of Research Maria Pellegirini said. "It says that there's someone who believes in the project."

The project will also be primarily funded by $80 million in new debt, which the Board of Trustees approved in November. The rest of the project is funded by donations to the Campaign for Brandeis.

The Shapiros' donation is part of that campaign, which was launched in 2000 with a fundraising goal of $470 million.

Because this goal was surpassed in November 2005, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of extending the campaign to 2009 with a goal of $770 million, Associate Vice President for the campaign Susan Krinsky said.

"They're in very poor shape," Reinharz said of the older buildings. "You cannot do 21st century science in buildings of that sort."

The Shapiro Science Center will include state-of-the-art research labs, classrooms, a science commons, seminar rooms, conference space and a caf, according to a University press release.

The new science center will replace the Kalman, Friedland and Edison-Lecks buildings, all built in the 1950s, Associate Vice President for Planning, Design and Construction Dan Feldman told the Justice in November. Feldman said the project will occur in two phases, the first of which calls for the construction of a new building where K-Lot currently stands, followed by the demolition of the Kalman and Friedland buildings. The second phase will see the construction of a new building where Kalman stood, and the subsequent demolition of Edison-Lecks, eventually leaving two large buildings in place of the three demolished ones.

"There won't be any net loss of space," Krinsky said. "In fact there will be gain of space.