December 11, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Eastern Oregon Universitys $33.5 million science center project has received its second major boost in less than a week.

The university has been awarded a $500,000 grant for its science center from the Meyer Memorial Trust.

Tuesdays news comes on the heels of an announcement on Thursday that David Huber, an alum from Columbia, Md., who grew up in La Grande, was donating $500,000 to the science center. Huber is also donating $100,000 to endow a physics and engineering scholarship.

The $500,000 grant EOU received from the Meyer Memorial Trust is a credit to the support the science center project has received from the community, said Colby Marshall, EOUs coordinator of alumni and government relations.

There is no way we could have received this without community support, Marshall said, adding that backing by the community is a primary criteria used by the Meyer Memorial Trust board when it decides which applicants will receive grants.

Marshall said that Mindi McAllaster, EOUs director of development for university advancement, played an instrumental role in helping Eastern secure the grant.

The Meyer Memorial Trust was created by the late Fred. G. Meyer, who built the chain of retail variety stores bearing his name throughout the Pacific Northwest. The trust was established after his death in 1978, and began operation in 1982.

In 1990 the Fred Meyer Charitable Trust changed its name to Meyer Memorial Trust to emphasize its representation of Meyers personal philanthropy. The Trust is not connected with Fred Meyer Inc., the retail enterprise.

The science center project the grant will support will add 67,480 square feet to EOUs current Badgley Hall science building of 30,090 square-feet. A 7,500-square -foot biotech lab and a 5,000-square-foot greenhouse will also be built.

Construction of the $33.5 million science center on the north side of the campus is scheduled to start early next year.