Morristown, N.J. (December 9, 2014) – Phase II of more than $5 million in renovations to the College of Saint Elizabeth's biology and chemistry labs in Henderson Hall will begin immediately after the May 2015 Commencement, with January 2016 as the goal for professors and students to move into the upgraded facilities. The construction has been planned to not hamper the Summer Science Program or any summer and fall classes.
Phase I was completed in 2012 and renovated nine of 20 science labs and classrooms. Summer programs will be held in these labs. The biology and chemistry labs were funded by a federal grant and a generous anonymous alumna, the total of which accounted for approximately half of the $5.2 million.
The two floors of the remaining laboratories to be renovated during Phase II are being upgraded with flexible lab space designs allowing for the future needs of the science department. The renovations will include upgrades to research labs, prep rooms and one general classroom for biology, chemistry and others to use. The College anticipates growth in student interest in science and is prepared to increase student research opportunities. The science facilities and programs integrate with the College's foods and nutrition, nursing and healthcare management programs.
As technology continues to advance, so too, must the education involving the use of technological tools. In the sciences, the advancements in analytical tools and learning spaces need to be evaluated regularly to offer CSE students the best education to prepare them for their careers. Research is an essential educational tool and the growing science programs will include increased research by faculty and students.
The architect for the project, RBA Group of Parsippany, N.J., designed flexible laboratory space to allow for alternate future use with minimal cost. If lab space needs to be made into another type of learning environment, the design allows that. Another design innovation is the "flip" lecture class room with furniture that can be easily moved from lecture style to small group work as well as flexibility for the faculty to engage new teaching techniques.
The funding for the phase II initiative comes from the State of New Jersey Higher Education Capital Facilities program's General Obligation (NJGO) grant that is part of the referendum bond question, Building Our Future, passed in 2013 by New Jersey voters. The initiative was developed to make sure that New Jersey's public, private, and community colleges remain competitive with out-of-state colleges and keep the brightest and best of New Jersey's students in state for their education and job opportunities. The emphasis focuses on the sciences – especially important for women who remain underrepresented in those fields. CSE received a $1.9 million NJGO grant with the requirement of a 25 percent match which came from several generous alumni, including a legacy gift from an estate. These gifts and the state grant cover cost of the renovations completely.
"I am very excited about the renovations. The labs that have already been renovated are great," says Kidist Nigussie '17, a biology major. "Having a lab that is devoted to anatomy and physiology will be good for those of us who are planning to continue our education in medical school."
James Gerrish, director of special projects says, "Having state-of-the-art laboratory facilities shows our commitment to those students who want to seriously study the sciences and continue their education at a graduate level."
Some of the additional renovations include a large lecture room, overhead projection and wireless technology, new hallway ceiling and lights, hallway windows looking into the labs, and air conditioning. Some faculty offices will also get a facelift.