New science building at UM-Dearborn to be dedicated Oct. 27
October 20, 2006
DEARBORN / Oct. 20, 2006---The shiny astronomical dome, 12 feet in diameter, that tops off the new Science Learning and Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, is only one of the truly distinctive features of the building.
Among other spaces, the building includes a 100-seat lecture hall with flexible seating that will encourage group work, labs that allow students to work with each other and with faculty members on projects, and support spaces providing scientific instrumentation that can be used in several different disciplines.
The SLRC opened for classes this semester and will be formally dedicated in a ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 in the atrium of the building. The dedication ceremony will be followed by a colloquium featuring Morris White, associate professor of pediatrics at the Harvard University Medical School, who received his bachelor’s degree from UM-Dearborn in 1977.
White’s presentation, on “Nutrient homeostasis and its relation to obesity, diabetes and longevity,” will be followed by tours of the building. In the evening, guests will be invited to tour the astronomical observatory and do some stargazing, if weather permits.
The new building will allow the campus to expand programs involving environmental, cellular and molecular studies and science education, according to Paul Zitzewitz, professor of physics at UM-Dearborn and former chair of the Department of Natural Sciences who was involved in planning the project.
“The labs, classrooms and other spaces all are designed to help our students prepare to enter graduate or professional schools or into businesses or industries that need employees skilled in modern laboratory techniques in the natural sciences,” Zitzewitz said.
When construction is complete, the dome on top of the building will house a 16-inch telescope supported by a $144,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The third floor deck of the building also has five other stations to mount telescopes.
The SLRC, designed by the architectural firm The Stubbins Associates, includes approximately 15,000 net square feet and cost approximately $10 million, with 75 percent of the funding coming from the state of Michigan. The campus is funding the remaining 25 percent.
“The design of this building will serve to enhance our learning community in many ways, by allowing students to experience meaningful investigations in a community where faculty are committed to seeing students as partners in learning,” according to physics Prof. Vaman Naik, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences.
A student gathering space on the building’s second floor will be dedicated in memory of biology Prof. Linda Fisher, who died in 2002. Contributions from Fisher’s colleagues and former students supported the naming of the room, as well as a scholarship fund in her name.