New Science Center Construction on Track
Southwestern’s new science center is “moving right along,” according to Ben Pierce, professor of biology and coordinator of faculty planning for the facility. “It’s really exciting to drive by on University Ave. and see how quickly the construction is coming together.”
To date, Pierce explains, all of the floors have been poured, the roof is on, and interior spaces are being outfitted. “We’re still on schedule to have Phase I completed in spring 2016 and to start holding classes in the space in fall 2016.”
Phase I will be comprised of teaching labs, research labs and interactive spaces. The first floor will house introductory teaching labs for biology, chemistry and physics. The second floor will be devoted to molecular biology, with research labs, a molecular biology center with state-of-the-art equipment (purchased through a $300,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation), and a cell culture facility. The organic chemistry and biochemistry teaching and research labs will be located on the third floor.
Pierce says the hope is that renovation/construction of Phase II of the science center can begin soon after the first phase is completed. Phase II will incorporate the Math, Computer Science and Kinesiology Departments, and will include faculty offices, classrooms, teaching and research labs, seminar rooms, additional interactive spaces and an atrium.
It’s important that we remain competitive among our peers; more than 40 percent of the students who apply to Southwestern have expressed interest in the sciences.Ben Pierce, professor of biology
“Current and prospective students are very excited about the new science center,” says Pierce. “It’s important that we remain competitive among our peers; more than 40 percent of the students who apply to Southwestern have expressed interest in the sciences.” This and the fact that all Southwestern students are required to take courses in the natural sciences means that the new building will be seen and used by every student on campus for at least one semester. “It’s really going to be an academic building for the whole campus,” explains Pierce.
He also says that science faculty have already changed the way they teach and the way students learn science through the Southwestern Inquiry Initiative—funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)—and that the new science center will allow Southwestern to “fully maximize curriculum development and the development of the University’s science community.”
Additional information and ways to support the sciences at Southwestern can be found on the Science Center giving page.
Story by Kristina Moore