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New KSU Lab Is 'A Game Changer'

Kennesaw State University opened a new $21 million, 73,000-square-foot science lab addition on Thursday.

Kennesaw State University opened a $21 million, state-of-the-art science lab addition Thursday that will enable professors to do what they do best: teach tomorrow’s scientists, ask fundamental research questions and make connections across disciplines.

“We are extremely appreciative of the support that we received for this project from the Board of Regents and the General Assembly,” said Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp. “This new science addition adds yet another niche of excellence to the KSU campus. Our undergraduate and graduate students will have access to top-notch classrooms and equipment, and our faculty will be able to further their research in first-rate facilities. It is the catalyst that will help catapult the College of Science and Mathematics and this University to the next level as we soar to national prominence.”

The 73,000-square-foot, five-story building features six teaching labs, 17 research labs, and a light-filled atrium where students can gather and share ideas. The atrium connects the new building to the College of Science and Mathematics’ existing Clendenin Building, which houses technology classrooms and the Department of Computer Science.

In the past, a lack of space in the University’s existing Science Building severely limited the number of specialized courses that could be offered. The problem was particularly acute in classes that prepare students for careers in the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields.

The building enables the College to add new programs to meet the growing demand. Two new graduate programs at Kennesaw State  —  a Master of Science in integrative biology, which started this fall, and a Master of Science in the chemical sciences, which starts in fall 2013 —  emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of scientific research. These programs would not be possible without the additional space. With them, the University is poised to prepare students for advanced careers in biology, biochemistry, nanotechnology and many other fields.

Developing a work force with advanced math and science skills is critical for Georgia. According to the Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America, the state will need to fill 211,000 STEM-related jobs by 2018.

“This building is a game changer for the College and for the University,” said Mark Anderson, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “Not only does it help us fulfill our overall mission of teaching, research and service; it provides us with the tools to help us teach our students how to learn in a way that uniquely prepares them for the future.”

Additionally, the Kennesaw State University Foundation has approved $60,000 to create two Foundation Professorships, one in molecular biology/molecular genetics and another in biochemistry. The funding will support the research of two advanced prospective faculty members whose work will complement research currently underway in genetics, bacteria and material sciences, among others. A nationwide search is currently underway fill the positions by the fall 2013 semester.

“This is an annual amount to be invested in research,” Anderson said. “It’s an opportunity to bring in established faculty in related fields. That’s how new ideas are formulated — different people from different backgrounds talking and collaborating in a new building that facilitates such interaction. This is the way science will be conducted in the future. Research teams will explore the big problems that exist at the boundaries of traditional disciplines.”

While the new building provides much-needed space, it is also energy efficient and is expected to meet  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification requirements for sustainability.

The Science Lab Addition was designed by the Perkins + Will architectural firm and built by Choate Construction Co. The project began in March 2011.

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