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A New Science Building for Albright
Getting Ready for the Science of the Future

The vision of a new science facility for Albright is taking shape.

Science division faculty have been working for more than two years to map out Albright’s needs in science education, exploring options, visiting colleges, attending conferences on creating science facilities and talking to architects. The result was a hefty request for proposals which described all the elements of a state-of-the-art science facility to carry Albright well into the middle of this century.

As this issue went to press, the science planning committee was preparing to select a firm of architectural planners to integrate the curricular and space needs for the new facility. Nine firms from across the country submitted proposals and statements of qualifications.

By fall, the planners will have worked with the science faculty to determine how big the facility will need to be, and create a building plan incorporating the vision stated in the request for proposal. They will define spaces for teaching, labs, lecture halls and offices and decide how the building will look. They will also produce a conceptual rendering to share with the College community.

Merner-Pfeiffer Hall of Science
The current Merner-Pfeiffer Hall of Science

"In addition to normal teaching, lecture and lab spaces, we need spaces that can be shared," said biology chair Karen Campbell, chair of the science planning committee. "For example, biochemistry and molecular genetics use the same facilities and share instrumentation, and right now we are moving students and equipment up and down stairs. We need more dedicated research space for students and faculty. Students also do much more work in small group seminars and workshops, so we need smaller spaces as well as big spaces. Also, faculty offices are distributed throughout Science Hall, which currently limits the amount of interaction between faculty."

Flexibility will also be built into the new building, according to Campbell, with an eye to allowing the building and the teaching program to adapt as science changes over the next 50 years.

The new building is currently envisioned as requiring at least 60,000 square feet and costing about $25 million. The preferred location is across from Master’s Hall on the western edge of Science Field. The new building will also free up Science Hall for much needed offices and classrooms. The College is beginning to plan for its first capital campaign since 1980 to provide funds for this project and other priorities.

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