Morristown, N.J. (January 26, 2016) – The last phase of a five-year, $5.2 million renovation to Henderson Hall science facilities was completed in December 2015, in time for the newly renovated labs to be occupied by biology, chemistry, nursing, and foods and nutrition students for the spring 2016 semester.
The renovations were made possible through a combination of federal grants for sciences, NJ Building Our Futures grant (GO Bond) and a generous gift by an anonymous donor. The biology and chemistry labs were completely gutted and rebuilt with the latest in materials and equipment. The latest phase included constructing research laboratories for both chemistry and biology, a 44-person lecture room using flexible adaptive-style furniture, upgrading faculty offices, installing the latest in technology in all rooms, and upgrading the main Foods and Nutrition lab with new equipment and materials.
"The completion of renovations to the biology floor has resulted in a physically inviting environment in which students can now comfortably engage in lecture and laboratory activities associated with the science programs," says Dr. Donna Howell, program chair in biology. "State-of-the-art technology and equipment enhance student learning and provide more opportunities for student engagement and learning, especially in essential laboratory practices."
"The new labs are amazing," says Grace Bailey '17, a chemistry major. "We have a lab dedicated to research with up-to-date equipment and facilities that will make doing research more expedient."
Henderson Hall was built in the early 1960s. While the building is in good shape overall, the renovations have made Henderson Hall a modern and invigorating environment for studying the sciences. Another major improvement to the building was the complete upgrade to the building's lower lobby, with new glass rear entrance doors, a colorful "wave" wall with a large-screen TV monitor to keep the campus community updated with events and news, and a new ceiling and lights. New lobby furniture is being planned as well.
While the science wings were a focus of the renovation, the chapel, located in room 24, was also refurbished.
"We are very happy to have a permanent place for daily Mass again," says Msgr. Thomas J McDade, professor of education and College chaplain. "Abby Cimorelli, our campus minister, is doing a great job in making the space prayerful and inviting. The best part is that our little yet-to-be-named chapel is open for prayer and reflection all day in addition to our Noon Eucharist."
"These renovations were done with the future in mind," says James Gerrish, director of special projects at the college. "Students will be better prepared to enter the workforce with the hands-on skills they will receive in the new labs. Jobs in the sciences and healthcare related fields are expected to grow within the state of New Jersey, and nationwide as well."
Campus renovations are not limited to Henderson Hall. Three other campus projects underway include a back-up power generator for our computer systems, additional wireless access equipment to improve wireless connectivity in our buildings, and a new telephone system using Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) technology. These three projects are funded by a New Jersey Higher Education Technology Infrastructure (HETI) grant and by the John A. and Margaret Post Foundation, the Edward W. & Stella C. Van Houten Memorial Fund, and generous individual donors. HETI grants are used to improve technology infrastructure at colleges and universities in New Jersey to assure the schools have the best possible technology available for student benefit.
The installation of the back-up power generator for the network operations center was completed in spring 2015. The generator, located next to Henderson Hall's network operations center, will keep the college's computer network up and running in the event of a major utility power failure. This will allow communications via the network to stay active and protect data stored on the servers.
While all college buildings are already 100 percent wireless, the expansion of the college's wireless network will eliminate dead zones and reduce the frequency of losing wireless connectivity. This work is about 95 percent complete and will be finished this spring. Dolan Performance Hall and the gym in Saint Joseph Hall will have expanded wireless capacity installed as well. Adding to the college's wireless network will enhance the student experience as they increasingly use the internet to research and communicate.
A new Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) telephone system will be installed during the spring/summer of 2016 and replace an aging system that is no longer supported. VoIP represents leading edge technology using the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls. The advantage of VoIP is that it is significantly less expensive to operate than a traditional phone system and contains many expanded features.
New high-efficiency LED lights are being installed in all building hallways, classrooms, offices, and parking lots. Work has started and will be completed by this summer. The project began in Henderson Hall during the renovation of the science labs. Once Henderson Hall is totally upgraded with new lighting, work will move to Mahoney Library, Annunciation Center, Santa Rita, Santa Maria, and Saint Joseph Hall. The two residence halls will be started after the May 14, 2016 Commencement.
The rationale for this project is multi-purposed; the lights are high efficiency and long-lasting, which significantly reduces annual utility and bulb replacement costs. The College will receive state rebates from the New Jersey Clean Energy program. The brighter lights will provide additional safety and security on campus. With the savings in materials, maintenance, energy costs, and the rebates, this program will pay for itself within three years.