SU announces plans for $107-million Life Sciences Complex
SU announces plans for $107-million Life Sciences ComplexMarch 31, 2005Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
Syracuse University is putting the finishing touches on plans to construct a $107-million Life Sciences Complex; it will be the largest and most ambitious project of several initiatives recently announced in the “Building the Creative Campus” unveiling of University space plans. Conceptual plans outline a 210,000-square-foot building on the main campus, adjacent to the current Center for Science and Technology (CST), slated to open in time for the Fall 2008 semester. In a first for the University, it will house The College of Arts and Sciences’ biology department, chemistry department and biochemistry programs under one roof.
“The Life Sciences Complex signals a new era of scientific exploration and teaching at Syracuse University,” says Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “Through interdisciplinary collaboration, students can learn first-hand the nature of research from faculty whose discoveries have the potential to change our world.”
The new building is being designed to set a new standard for how universities optimize space for biology and chemistry teaching and research, with ample collaborative space, the latest in laboratory design and technology, and space assignments designed to break down barriers between disciplines.
Says Dean Cathryn R. Newton of The College of Arts and Sciences, “The Life Sciences Complex, along with the many new faculty we have hired, allows us to remain competitive, nationally and internationally. It also heightens our scientific visibility.” Newton adds, “The complex will not only attract world-class researchers, but also foster interdisciplinary scientific collaborations.”
The purpose of the Life Sciences Complex is to promote research and education between the biology and chemistry departments, collectively known as the “Life Sciences.” The complex will be used as an important instructional facility, a major research center, a training ground for future scientists and a place where discoveries are made, particularly in the areas of cell signaling and environmental systems.
Newton says the complex will serve as a home to undergraduate and graduate students in the Life Sciences and will welcome thousands of other students, particularly in the health professions, who are taking science courses as part of their core experience in the liberal arts.
“At most institutions, such a building would be the domain of graduate students or income-producing researchers,” says Newton. “The hallmark of the Life Sciences Complex is the complete integration of undergraduate education and faculty-centered research. More so, undergraduate researchers will animate the building.”
Plans, which are contingent upon city approval, call for the Life Sciences Complex to break ground in 2006. In a unique physical manifestation of the building’s purpose, it will contain two wings-one for research and one for teaching. The research wing will house biology research labs, lab support offices, conference rooms and faculty offices. The teaching wing will provide biology and chemistry teaching labs, lecture halls, and research greenhouses. An atrium, animated by the social activity of a cafe, will connect the Life Sciences Complex to CST, where chemistry research laboratories currently reside.
Renowned architectural firm Ellenzweig Associates, of Cambridge, Mass., has been selected to design the building. “Our main challenge is to create a building that fosters collaboration between researchers and students,” explains Miltos Catomeris, design principal of Ellenzweig. “Faculty offices are organized in clusters to promote and facilitate interaction amongst researchers. Laboratories are organized in generic modules to accommodate various sized research groups. The area between the new building and CST is being designed as a large social space, uniting these buildings and creating a bold, new front door to both biology and chemistry.”
More information on the Life Sciences complex and other University space initiatives will be announced in the coming months.