By MARIA KANSO, News Editor
The ribbon cutting of the Natural Sciences Building united students, staff and professors from different departments on Friday, Sept. 9.
The $51 million project has been in action for six years. The need for a renovation to the Science Building became critical in 2009.
The building simply couldn’t accommodate advanced education and teaching qualities, in addition to having little space for increasing natural science enrollment over the past five years and the growth of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The project began in 2012 with the aid of DeMaria and other notable building companies.
During his speech at the event, Chancellor Daniel Little mentioned that the main focus of the building is research and teaching for students, stressing the integration of a learning space dedicated to student cooperation, teamwork and hands-on learning.
“Our faculty are very committed to the idea that they want their curricula, their labs, their lectures to line out with very well with the best student engagement techniques that exist in the country today,” said Little.
The Chancellor also stressed gratitude to the state government and its officials, which supported the project with $30 million.
Only two offices are present in the renovated Natural Sciences Building, compared to the previous division between offices, classrooms and labs. This highlights the dedication of space meant exclusively for student learning.
With 99,400 square feet of space, the complex serves as an epitome for research and learning in the fields of chemistry, biology, geology, and environmental biology. It also includes space for physics, which was relocated to the south end of the building.
In addition, the building supplies new instruments and includes a demonstration permaculture orchard on the west side of the building, made specifically for hands-on learning.
One of the building’s cornerstones is the integration of environmentally-friendly elements, such as LED lighting and solar shades.
“The renovation of the Science Building clearly demonstrates the university’s commitment to ensuring that we provide our students with the very best education possible,” said Martin Hershock, the Dean of the College of Arts, Science and Letters. “The research labs set aside for faculty are designed in ways that will facilitate interdisciplinary work, to allow for more faculty-student research collaboration and to ensure that our faculty have the room and technology needed to maintain their vigorous research agendas.”
Hershock mentioned shared reflections of some faculty members about the building during his speech, most of which were impressed by the new technology and learning space that the complex offers.
“The collaborative spaces and rooms were designed so that students could form critical thinking skills, and work closely with their peers and with faculty,” explained Hershock at the event.
State Representative George Darany also spoke at the event. He presented a certificate to Chancellor Little signed by himself, Senator Morrison and Governor Rick Snyder.
“Modern equipments and labs offered in the Natural Science Building ensure that Dearborn and the surrounding communities remain at the forefront of science, research, and development,” said Darany.
A brief tour was offered by UM-Dearborn orientation leaders following the ribbon cutting.