New Bioscience Building On Schedule For 2012 Opening

JMU News

A new academic building typically has lots of benefits, like rooms designed to meet specific needs, more space than the previous building and new equipment and furnishings.

The new bioscience building on the east campus certainly will have all those benefits when it opens in 2012, but perhaps the best thing about it won't have anything to do with its amenities.

"Honestly, the thing that I'm looking forward to most is not having to commute back and forth across campus everyday," said Dr. Mark Gabriele, an associate professor of biology who teaches some courses in Burruss Hall, the biology department's current home on the west campus, and others in the Health and Human Services Building on the east campus. "The practicality of being in one place is ideal. There is a lot of time lost going back and forth across campus."

Gabriele is not the only member of the biology faculty who teaches in multiple buildings. And that means biology students also must trek across campus. Having all biology courses taught in one building "will make a lot of difference for biology students. They won't be running all over the place," said Dr. David Brakke, dean of the college of science and mathematics.

The new building also will put the majority of the college of science and mathematics on the east campus.

"It's hard to do close collaboration when you're operating on both sides of the highway," Brakke said.

The new bioscience building is now under construction between the Physics/Chemistry Building and the East Campus Library. The biology department's move will leave two of the five departments that make up the college of science and mathematics west of Interstate 81: mathematics and statistics in Roop Hall, and geology and environmental science in Memorial Hall.

Brakke hopes the day will come when they too are moved to the east campus. For now, he has a new biology building to look forward to, a building "where we will be able to do things a whole lot better, more efficiently. It's nice to have a facility you've had a hand in designing."

Gabriele, who was part of the design team, said, "We've put an emphasis on the building being a teaching tool itself. So, this new building has a lot of bells and whistles that are going to come online that not only house us as biology faculty, but also as a teaching instrument to show our students things about environmental science and conservation and different mechanical systems."

Among the amenities will be a green house facing the Festival meadow, a green roof, specially designed laboratories, a state of the art microscopy lab and teaching space on the outside of the building.

"For me personally, one of the most exciting parts of the new building will be the microscopy suite that will not only be a research intensive area, but also a teaching intensive area," Gabriele said.

Students will like the amenities as well, Gabriele said. And the building should be attractive to prospective students.

"I don't think we have that much trouble recruiting biology students, we're one of the largest majors, but that being said, we want to continue to recruit the best students," he said. "It is definitely a selling point and something that makes us a lot more competitive."

Back to Top

Published: Friday, September 9, 2011

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Related Articles