New Facilities at Southern, UConn Stress Science Education, Careers

In the fall of 2015, Connecticut’s efforts to encourage science careers among students attending state colleges ramped up with the opening of a new Science and Laboratory Building on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, and the groundbreaking for a Science and Engineering Building at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Both projects are back in the news.

Southern’s Academic Science & Laboratory Building has been certified LEED® Gold, placing it among the top one-third most sustainably designed certified buildings in the state.  The building saves the university 34 percent on its energy consumption and reduces water use by 20 percent.

Designed by Centerbrook Architects & Planners, the nearly 104,000-square-foot building exceeded expectations with its sustainable features. Originally targeted for LEED® Silver, the Academic Science & Laboratory Building scored 63 points on the LEED® scale to earn BD+C (Building Design + Construction) Gold.  The $49 million project was created entirely through state bonding, and predominantly features interactive laboratory spaces, with only two traditional lecture halls.

In Storrs, UConn’s new Engineering and Science Building is now 75 percent complete, and will be operational this fall.  It is expected to provide room for some of the university’s fastest growing research fields – systems genomics, biomedical sciences, robotics, cyber-physical systems (think drones) and virtual reality technology.

The five-story building will see researchers will move in to the new space this summer, beginning in July. It will be the first structure on the Storrs campus to utilize an “open lab” concept for research. The shared research space and open floor plan is intended to make it easier for scientists from different disciplines to collaborate, fostering innovation, according to UConn Today. The new structure will also give scientists access to a high-speed broadband network can process large amounts of data quickly – a necessity in many research fields today.

The building’s first floor is to include a Robotics and Controls Lab, Computational design Lab, Adaptive systems, Intelligence, and Mechatronics Lab and Manufacturing Systems Laboratory.  The second and third floors will feature the Institute for Systems Genomics, Center for Genome Innovation, Computational Biology Core and Microbial Analysis.  The top two floors will include labs focusing on Cellular Mechanics, Neuroengineering and Pain research, Interdisciplinary Mechanics, Membrane Separations, Advanced Solar Cells and Computational Atmospheric Chemistry.

Southern's Academic Science and Laboratory Building features Connecticut’s only center for nanotechnology and training labs for high performance computing, astronomy, cancer research, and molecular biology. It is also home to the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies. Stressing the connection between education and employment, Southern notes that the Greater New Haven area is home to the second-largest cluster of biotechnology companies in New England.