This past September, with the tossing of some ceremonial dirt and a toast from Erlenmeyer flasks destined for new chemistry labs, scores of faculty, students, administrators, alumni and guests marked the beginning of a long-awaited facility dedicated exclusively to the sciences.
With it, many in attendance agree, comes a new era in the campus’ academic evolution, and in the ways in which prospective students, faculty and others think of SUNY Fredonia.
The new, 92,000-square-foot building set to open in 2014 is the single largest facility investment in the campus’ history. When complete, it will house the biology and chemistry/biochemistry departments, in addition to the environmental science and science education programs. A renovation of Houghton Hall will follow and eventually house the departments of physics, geosciences, mathematics, and computer and information sciences – thereby creating a Fredonia Science Complex dedicated to all of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines.
“For years, SUNY Fredonia has been home to high-quality science students and faculty, as is evidenced by the many accomplished alumni who have played a key role in helping us shape this new vision, many of whom have returned to campus to join us for today’s event,” said President Dennis Hefner. “This new facility will serve as a far better representation of the quality of this campus’ science programs. It will not only meet the standards our graduates have set, but it will significantly increase the potential of both our faculty and our students.”
The mission of the new building is to provide graduates with a skill set relevant to a world economy increasingly driven by scientific innovation. It also seeks to create an environment that enables state-of-the-art faculty research which facilitates the inclusion of undergraduates, a long-held hallmark of the sciences at Fredonia.
“One of the ways that you can see our planning as a campus is in how we’re planning our physical space for the kind of learning we want to have happening at Fredonia,” added Vice President for Academic Affairs Virginia Horvath. “We’re not just taking into account what’s needed inside of a lab or for proper ventilation; we’re thinking of the ways in which students can best learn science, and we’re making sure the space we create is best suited for collaboration across disciplines.”
Chemistry Associate Professor Holly Lawson is the project shepherd. She has been involved in all aspects of the planning, design and construction of the new facility, acting as a liaison between the faculty and the design and construction teams.
“This facility will have amazing teaching spaces that will contain smart technologies coupled with clever designs to support all styles of teaching and learning,” Dr. Lawson explained. “This wonderful facility – filled with light, wood, stone and glass – will showcase science by allowing visitors to look into labs, witness scientific exchanges in the halls and explore science in the numerous displays.”
To discover more about the new Science Center, including a computer-generated walkthrough of the completed facility as it’s designed, click here>>:
To learn more about this and four other major construction projects happening on campus, see page 10 of this issue.