The much anticipated dedication of the Jack and Mary DeWitt Family Science Center will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. Mary DeWitt, Marty Guthmiller, and Greg Christy will speak at the dedication, followed by tours of the building.
When first stepping into the Jack and Mary DeWitt Family Science Center, there are a few things that will stand out right away: natural lighting and ample study spaces. The natural lighting comes from the many windows, which are strategically placed to provide light in the stereotypically dark labs.
Windows also line the numerous study spaces throughout the building. There are individual study cubicles, group study tables, couches and benches throughout the building to facilitate student learning. These study areas will be available to students throughout the day and into the evening.
Upon further investigation of the building, students will also see many research and technology improvements. Many of the research advancements in the new building are especially exciting including a DNA sequencer which will allow biology students to dig deeper into the research they have already started in VPH. Other research and technology advances include more fume hoods, new incubators, new laboratory freezers and more gel electrophoresis boxes.
The research spaces are intentionally designed so that everything needed for a given research project will be close together.
This is very different from the current situation in Van Peursem Hall where science students are often walking between the three floors to use various equipment.
Another advantage of the new research facility is that the biology and chemistry labs are next to each other. Along with this, the biology and chemistry professors’ offices are all next to each other, which will facilitate more collaboration between biology and chemistry professors and the research they are pursuing.
Another new feature in the science building is the green house, which has temperature and humidity control. This will be especially beneficial for ecology students and faculty.
The new nursing simulation labs are located in the basement of the building and will provide nursing students with a hospital-like environment.
A key element of the new science center is how environmentally friendly it is. Rick Scholtens, director of facilities management, shared information about the daylight harvesting technology in the building.
Daylight harvesting is a control system that measures the lumens of light coming into the system through the windows and then dims or brightens the lights accordingly. This system will reduce the amount of energy needed to light the facility.
Another way energy is saved in this new center is through the air conditioning system, which utilizes ice-cooling technology.
Northwestern as a whole is passionate about integrating faith and learning; therefore, during the first year the science center is open, NW will be hosting speakers under the topic of Science as Faithful Witness in the co lab of the building.
These discussions will seek to encourage students to explore and learn about God in the world around them through science.