Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center wing opens October 5, 2020
In a milestone moment, laboratories in the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center opened to students on October 5, 2020, putting an exclamation point on the first phase of the two-phase project that when completed will result in the largest academic building on the Misericordia University campus.
Faculty and students are marveling over the increased size of the new laboratories, some more than double the size of those in the original building. Other highlights include the benefit of having separate rooms dedicated to storage and preparation work that add efficiency and ease to the processes of teaching and learning in the new technology-savvy laboratories. In addition, top-of-the-line safety features include emergency eye-washing and shower stations strategically located throughout the facility.
For some, the most unanticipated bonus is the amount of natural light that permeates the entire building, thanks to a skylight in the atrium and walls of outside windows on the upper two floors that serve a two-fold purpose.
“Our theme for the building was “Science on Display,” and we have definitely accomplished that with windows that not only let us look out over campus, but allow those passing by to look in and see our students at work in the laboratories,” states Heidi Manning, dean, College of Arts and Sciences. “Our goal was to be able to have the community witness science in action. I can’t imagine a better result.”
Anthony Serino, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, served as Project Shepherd – the liaison between the College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff and SLAM Collaborative, the architectural firm hired to design the center – to make sure every detail of the building serves the needs of the University.
Dr. Serino is all smiles and rightfully proud of a facility that includes a mammal vivarium, aquatic/invertebrate vivarium, environmentally controlled greenhouse and new teaching labs in biology, chemistry and physics. In addition, a new cold room enables advanced molecular experiments.
He is particularly pleased when teaching in the new gross anatomy suite – complete with an integrated control room, special air circulation system and separate preparatory space. Cameras and monitors are located at each station so that the work being done can be shared with faculty and other students in the class.
Renovations to the 28,500-square-foot original Science Center began over the summer. Sordoni Construction crews are working to replace all of the building’s windows and have entirely reconstructed the lower level to create a new classroom, laboratory and office suite for physics instruction, along with a computer building laboratory. Former teaching laboratories on the upper two floors will be dedicated to research when the renovation is complete. “One of the hardest problems we faced in the old building was needing to juggle teaching and research in the same laboratory space, and being forced to put away research projects to make way for classroom work, and vice versa,” Dr. Serino explains. “Having dedicated research space will be a bonus for every one of our students.”
The University plans to have the entire facility open for instruction by early spring. When the project is complete, the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center will increase classroom and laboratory space for the sciences by more than 200 percent.