The University of Georgia dedicated its 122,500-square-foot Science Learning Center Aug. 17. An estimated 10,000-12,000 students will utilize the building each day for classes in chemistry, biology, physics, ecology, math, computer science and genetics.
The three-story facility, which opened for fall semester classes last week, aims to enhance a strong foundation in the sciences at UGA. Supported by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and funded by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly, the center cost $48 million and includes 33 instructional labs, two 280-seat lecture halls, two 72-seat SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs) classrooms as well as spaces for informal student collaboration.
“This impressive facility represents a transformation of science education at the University of Georgia,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We are especially grateful to Governor Deal, the General Assembly, and the Board of Regents for their support.”
With updated instructional spaces able to facilitate the most effective STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teaching methods, the Science Learning Center is geared toward retaining and recruiting more STEM majors with the goal of increasing the number of students who pursue careers in these fields.
“As an ecologist, I look at science from interdisciplinary and broad scale perspectives, and this is why the SLC is particularly exciting to me,” said Hayley Schroeder, an undergraduate Honors student majoring in ecology and entomology. “Science is all about collaboration and using the ideas and tools from different disciplines to solve problems, build on ideas and answer questions that no single discipline could answer alone. The SLC embodies this idea by bringing these separate entities together, to educate students about different areas of science under one roof.”
University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby said the facility represented the university’s mission of teaching and learning. “How exciting it is to have this facility come into being in a time when, more than ever, we need to be more productive, more efficient and more successful in producing the young people, particularly young scientists, of tomorrow because they are the key to quality of economic viability of this nation for many years to come. I look forward to the great things that will come from the graduates who will study here.”
Gregory Robinson, UGA Foundation Distinguished Professor in Chemistry, also spoke at the ceremony.
Located on the southwest corner of the D.W. Brooks Mall adjacent to Pharmacy South and across from the Miller Plant Sciences Building, the Science Learning Center houses numerous study areas for group projects and individual learning, as well as a café. Rooms for formal instruction will be used primarily for introductory courses in chemistry, physics, biological sciences and ecology.
“I look forward to seeing how the technology available in the Scale Up classrooms, teaching labs and lecture halls facilitates collaboration and stimulates new approaches to learning,” said Schroeder. “With the latest equipment available in labs, I think that we can train students in leading edge approaches and bring bigger and bigger ideas to life.”