Although classes have been held in the Undergraduate Science Building since last fall, the building was officially dedicated yesterday.

Kelly Fraser
University President Mary Sue Coleman cuts a ribbon to dedicate the Undergraduate Science Building yesterday. Coleman said the facility would help all students become “scientifically literate” (BEN SIMON).

The dedication wasn’t held until yesterday because not all of the computer simulators and mechanical lab equipment were fully installed and operational until the spring. The building is part of a complex of sciences buildings that includes the Life Sciences Building and Palmer Commons.

The $61 million building is 140,000 square feet. It has 30 classrooms and lab spaces, a 125-seat auditorium and two classrooms designed after a dinner theater with tiered seating at semi-circular tables facing the instructor.

Associate Provost Phil Hanlon said the goal of the tiered classrooms was to allow students to work in both lecture and small group formats.

LSA Dean Terry McDonald said the building serves as “a geographic and intellectual crossroads for science on campus” because of its location near the medical campus, School of Dentistry, Life Sciences Institute Building and Chemistry Building.

At the dedication ceremony, University President Mary Sue Coleman praised the new facility and emphasized the importance of science for all students.

“We need our students, regardless of career interests, to be scientifically literate because scientific literacy is absolutely necessary in today’s society,” she said. “Just (reading) the front of the newspaper requires a basic knowledge of global warming, nutrition, genetics and stem cells.”

About 100 people attended the dedication, including representatives from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and Women in Science and Engineering, both of which have their main offices in the building.

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