SIUE celebrates completion of Science Building West with ribbon cutting ceremony

The crowd at the Science Building West entrance last Monday looked on as Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe, SIU President Glenn Poshard and public officials spoke about the years of dedication and work behind the construction of the building leading up to the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Photo by Theresa San Luis

Furst-Bowe said the new facility is an example of the university’s commitment to its long-term goals and to the well-being of Southwestern Illinois.

“This new construction honors our goal of innovative high quality programs. With so many students leaning toward the health sciences, SIUE is even better positioned to make a significant and extremely beneficial impact on the future of health care in this region,” Furst-Bowe said.

Rep. William Enyart, D-Belleville, said the new building was an example of excellence, not only for “Southern Illinois (and) the nation, but for our students.

Victoria Francis, a senior biochemistry major, spoke about how the new facility has changed her academic life for the better. She was asked to do the honors of cutting the red ribbon during the dedication.

Francis, an SIUE Student Excellence and Achievement Recognition (STELLAR) student said she was honored to cut the ribbon, and that she is proud for the school.

“It was definitely an honor,” Francis said. “We have an amazing institution. The future of SIUE students is extremely bright. It’s impossible to thank these people enough.”

The $52-million Science Building West is a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates laboratories for faculty and student research initiatives. The chemistry, biological science and environmental science departments have been moved into the structure.

A $30-million renovation to the existing Science Building East is the next phase in the project, which will begin in 2014. Both buildings comprise the Science Building Complex.

Sen. William Haine, D-Alton, said it is wonderful to look at these complete buildings and great to see all that is happening in the SIUE community.

“I’m proud to be the senator for SIUE,” he said. “This school has been my top project the last 11 years.  It’s a great school—one of our flagship universities. Its academic standing is beyond question.”

Alumnus Mike Rouhini said he thinks the construction was greatly needed.

“We need up-to-date buildings that offer more space and are energy efficient,” Rouhini said.

The 138,000-square-foot building will reduce overcrowding in laboratories, due to increased interest in careers in the health sciences field.

The building is in the process of being Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, which means it will meet certain energy, water and indoor air-quality standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Its features include use of non-heat absorbing roofing materials, low water use plumbing fixtures and active teaching displays, showing building energy use among others.

Chemistry professor Robert Dixon said the new building has provided the infrastructure necessary to do things for a department operating in the 21st century.

“It’s transformative; very dramatic,” he said. “It’s going to allow us to do things we’ve never done before.”

He said cutting-edge technologies, such as instrumentation, biotechnology and computational computers and other lab equipment are most of what the department did not have until the building equipment money came.

A tour of the building followed the ceremony, with presentations ranging from demonstrating taxidermy with birds to showing a movie of chloroplast movements.


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