Science doesn’t occur in the dark, and there’s no magic involved. So says Radford University Physics Professor Rhett Herman about the prospect of passersby witnessing, through clear glass walls, real science taking shape inside RU laboratories in the soon-to-be-built Center for the Sciences.
“We want to show visitors—RU students as well as the numerous off-campus K–12 students and others who visit with our Science Days—that real science is done by people just like everyone else, with no dark magic behind thick walls,” Herman said.
Those science-illuminating labs are part of the plans under way for the long-awaited Center for the Sciences, which will adjoin Reed and Curie halls and house the Forensic Science Institute and the departments of anthropological sciences, biology and chemistry.
The building also will provide new spaces for the popular RU Planetarium and the Museum of the Earth Sciences, which will be “three times bigger and have a blow-you-away design,” said Steve Lenhart, geology professor and museum director.
Construction on the Center for the Sciences is expected to begin in fall 2012, with a tentative completion date of August 2014.
“We are in the middle of an exciting planning process, with many faculty and students offering advice, input and important discussions about the learning and research space that will propel our college forward in its ability to continue its outstanding tradition of mentoring, teaching and promoting the future success of our students,” said Orion Rogers, dean of the College of Science and Technology (CSAT).
The $49 million, 115,000-square-foot facility will include faculty and staff offices, teaching and research laboratories, and a vivarium for climate-controlled zoology research.
When construction is completed, renovation will begin on Reed and Curie, which eventually will house the departments of geology, geospatial science and physics, as well as the dean’s office and the CSAT Advising Center. Completion date for the renovation has yet to be determined.
“We think the new building and Reed and Curie renovations will support collaborative research and provide comfortable and inviting spaces for cutting-edge work among disciplines across the college,” Rogers said. “We are planning for the needs of our students today and five decades from now. Each and every laboratory, classroom, office space and outreach facility will be built with an eye toward sustainability, flexibility and growth.”