Augsburg College has reached its $50 million, multiyear capital campaign for a complex that will serve business, science and religion students at the private university adjacent to the West Bank of the University of Minnesota.

Construction of the Center for Science, Business and Religion could start by spring 2016 and be completed in 2018.

The Augsburg Board of Regents resolved Friday to proceed with architectural and construction design plans for the 135,000-square-foot center that will be the school's "signature building," ease overcrowding in classrooms and provide more lab space for students.

"Succeeding in today's world requires an ability to thrive in a world that no longer has fixed boundaries," Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow said in a statement, adding that the integrated-learning center will support students "in their journey of vocational discernment and pursuit of careers" in civic leadership, business, faith, science, medicine and law.

Augsburg enrolls 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

Augsburg, one of the least endowed of the state's private universities, is known for its inner-city location, solid academics and national recognition for hands-on community-service programs and learning.

The school has one of the most racially diverse student bodies of any Minnesota four-year college. About 30 percent of Augsburg seniors at Saturday's commencement activities are immigrants and/or minorities, the college said.

The record $50 million Augsburg campaign, begun in May 2008 and reached a year ahead of expectations, was buttressed by two $10 million gifts by anonymous donors. By contrast, the University of St. Thomas, the largest and one of the wealthiest private universities in Minnesota, several years ago raised $500 million, including three gifts from affluent business people of $50 million or more, for buildings, scholarships and other purposes.

Augsburg fundraisers have quipped that $50 million is still a big number for the college.

"There is a popular saying: 'It's amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit,' " said Mike Good, an Augsburg graduate who led the campaign, the largest in the college's history.

"This is true of [thousands] who contributed time, talent and treasure to this campaign. We are transforming Augsburg in real and meaningful ways that ensure we are a new kind of urban university: small to our students and big for the world."

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144