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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Integrated Sciences Building Visit

Our recent tour of the Integrated Sciences Building with Steve Ball was incredibly informative.  Steve took us through all the inner-workings of the building (including the lower level, penthouse, and all the cool places that required special access)!  We're appreciative of Steve's willingness to share so much during our two hour tour.

First, I realized how much larger the facility was than I expected!  According to the Facilities Planning website, the current building has 155,000 gross square feet.  There were tons of labs ranging from inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, to animal sciences, and biology.  We were able to see the new well planned lab setups and equipment.  We learned that four different courses can be taught simultaneously in the labs, with 10 labs, 16 students per lab and one "hood" per person, specifically for inorganic chemistry.   We walked by one lab that had over a million dollars worth of equipment, provided through a generous donation from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (it was under lock and key of course).  We were also able to see experiments taking place on the top level with doctoral and master's level students.

In relation to classroom space, everything is state of the art.  There is a 300 seat and 85 seat lecture hall along with many smaller classrooms.  When relevant, there are hoods with a video camera enclosed, allowing for professors to perform experiments in the lecture and show their work to the students.

The green initiative was incorporated in the building's construction as much as possible.  There are no light switches in any rooms, everything is motion sensor operated.  As you can see in the lecture hall photo, the building utilizes bamboo and recycled materials for surfaces.  Natural light streams through as much of the building as wherever possible.  Steam, provided by the University's Central Heating Plant is used to heat and cool the facility.  LEED, the Leadership in Energy Efficient Design helped to approve the facility's "green factor."

I'm excited to share, that the current Integrated Sciences Building is just the beginning!  A new addition is already being constructed, and will likely be finished in the next couple of years.  This new addition will include a new lab science building and new life science facility.

A huge thanks to Steve Ball for our tour!  The Integrated Sciences Building is a fantastic addition to the University!

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