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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama at Birmingham has broken ground on a new $39.5 million arts and sciences building.

The 160,000-square-foot building is expected to open in the fall of 2019. reports the new building will replace the UAB Humanities Building, which has served students for more than 45 years. It will be home to the anthropology, computer and information sciences, English, foreign languages and literatures, mathematics, philosophy and social work departments.

“As a result of the rapid growth of our undergraduate and graduate programs, and the limitations of the Humanities Building, we proposed the construction of a new Arts and Sciences Building to better serve the students of UAB,” said Robert Palazzo, Ph.D., dean of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “This new building will provide our campus community with a state-of-the-art facility in which they can work and learn. It will complete the quadrant of high-end buildings around the Green, allow for cohesiveness and convenience, and promote a safe and efficient campus for our students, faculty and staff.”

The building will also include a 300-seat auditorium, performance space, administrative support offices and a storm shelter.

The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees approved stage four of planning for the building on Sept. 15.

Montgomery, Alabama-based firm Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc., will serve as architect. M.J. Harris Construction Services, based in Birmingham, has been awarded the facility’s construction contract.

The UAB College of Arts and Sciences serves more than 50 percent of UAB students through one of its 29 majors and 19 departments. All freshmen, regardless of their majors, are taught by Arts and Sciences faculty for their core classes. The college also offers more than 30 baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.