Eckerd College: High Hopes For New Science Center, St. Pete

In an attempt to educate future scientists, Eckerd College continues work on its new Center for Molecular and Life Sciences (CMLS).

The single-story 55,000-square-foot facility will cost approximately $25 million to complete, featuring 9 labs; two classrooms; three faculty-student research spaces; 14 faculty offices; several student study areas and meeting rooms; a greenhouse; an open lobby and gathering space; two covered courtyards; and research support spaces, among other things.

"Equipped with the latest in educational technology and scientific instrumentation, CMLS will bolster Eckerd's efforts to transform its science curriculum, contributing to the kind of innovation needed for Eckerd students to complete globally in science and technology," says Dr. Laura Wetzel, building shepherd for the center and associate professor of Marine Science and Geosciences. "The new venues offered by the center will welcome thousands annually for the President Events Series, Alumni Weekend, the Annual Science Symposium, summer science and sports camps and more."

Transforming Eckerd's science curriculum, the construction of the new state-of-the-art facility will promote new academic initiatives that explore developments at the Chemistry-Biology Interface. Housing existing Biology, Chemisty and Biochemistry programs, CMLS will be equipped with the latest in science instrumentation, as well as educational technology, in an attempt to further developments in Marine and Environmental sciences.

"Since 1964-65, when Eckerd's original science buildings were constructed, enrollments have increased 500 percent without a parallel growth in facilities," says Wetzel. "Now, nearly one-third of Eckerd's student body majors in the sciences. Eckerd's newly-graduated students trained in the center will add to the science and technology workforce in the Tampa Bay area."

With completion on schedule and expected by August 2012, CMLS will be designed and constructed with a goal in mind: obtaining the Platinum level of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Certification. If achieved, CMLS will become the first non-residential building in the St. Pete area with the certification.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Dr. Laura Wetzel, Eckerd College

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