Campus Community / Science / Technology and Health

Notes from a Tour of the Center for Science and Innovation

Written by Mike Quinn, PhD

September 30, 2020

The Center for Science and innovation

Image credit: Yosef Kalinko

Michael Quinn, PhD, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, offers his account of a recent tour of the new building under construction, which is scheduled to open next fall.

On a soggy September afternoon I entered the new Center for Science and Innovation for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was immediately struck by the grand staircase. As visitors to the building ascend the stairs and look up into the lightwell, they will be impressed by the four stories of science labs and study spaces clearly visible. I was thrilled to see we have clearly achieved one of our key design goals of putting science on display.

The building was a beehive of activity, with more than 200 workers busy with myriad activities, including installing light fixtures, laying tile, painting walls, installing window glazing and working on the HVAC system.

I walked through two spacious university classrooms on the first floor. Each will support a student-focused, active-learning pedagogy. When the soundproof partition between the classrooms is raised, we will have a great space for undergraduate research poster sessions and Projects Day presentations.

The two-story-high makerspace is impressive! Visitors driving onto campus and pedestrians walking along 12th Avenue will see our students busily constructing things. I can imagine some of our students taking advantage of the high ceiling to test drones they have built.

There are about two dozen student study spaces scattered throughout the building. I appreciate the thoughtful way the architects have created a variety of spaces: quiet study rooms with doors, open areas near faculty offices, cushioned two-person study pods along quiet hallways and research write-up rooms. All of the spaces benefit from abundant natural light. I expect the new building to match—or even surpass—our fabulous library as a popular place to study.

The amount of light passing through the building was impressive, even though it was pouring rain outside. Almost every room in the building benefits from natural light entering through an outside window or one of the lightwells. The multi-investigator research labs on the east side of the building will be airy and bright, sharing a beautiful territorial view of Cherry Hill and Immaculate Conception Church.

Walking through the first floor, I can easily imagine it bubbling with activity a year from now, with traffic to and from the Center for Community Engagement, the university makerspace, radio station KXSU, the new university classrooms, the café sponsored by Microsoft, the Amazon Computer Science Project Room, the Oberto Family Commons and, of course, the biology and chemistry labs upstairs.

View this photo gallery to see the construction underway.