New Lab to Host Open House

New organic chemistry lab hosts open house

When students returned to campus this fall, they found a gleaming new organic chemistry lab awaiting them. The fresh new space, completely redone and renovated, provides a state-of-the-art learning and teaching environment that is also significantly more energy efficient than the former space.

The chemistry department invites the community to tour the new lab at an open house, from 2-5 p.m. Oct. 4, in 318 Physical Sciences Laboratory Building. Refreshments will be served.

Students in a number of majors and disciplines use the organic chemistry lab and will benefit from the enhanced facility. All chemistry majors, whether in organic, biochemistry or the new forensic chemistry specialization, as well as many other science majors, especially those in pre-professional programs, will have lab classes there.

The 12 new, clear glass lab hoods plus one ADA-compliant hood provide space for all 24 students in a class, allowing new experiments to be integrated into the curriculum.

With a teaching wall and computer projection at the front of the room and two flat-screen monitors on the rear walls, students can see clearly what the instructor is presenting.

"The computer and video display capabilities will allow faculty to demonstrate safety procedures and lab procedures and will greatly enhance their ability to include computer simulation and modeling in the curriculum," said Dr. John Cable, chair of the chemistry department.

"The lab was specifically designed to provide 'back bench' space for all students," he added. "Chemicals are manipulated in the hoods and then students can use a space directly behind the hood to write in their notebooks, make additional measurements, run computer simulations and more."

The lab boasts new equipment and some instrumentation, plus all new cabinetry and storage space, including an area for students to stow coats and backpacks, leaving the actual learning zone clear.

Viewing windows along the halls allow visitors to observe the lab in session.

Timing for the renovation was fortuitous. The building was already getting a major upgrade of its heating and ventilation system, supported by a National Science Foundation grant, to allow the systems to be electronically controlled. Tying into that, the new lab hoods utilize a highly efficient exhaust and airflow system, said Robert Boucher, Office of Design and Construction, who was project manager for the renovation.

Boucher also cited the efficiency of the new LED lighting utilized in the lab as another energy-saving element.

Designed by the architecture firm BHDP of Cincinnati and Columbus, the lab project cost about $850,000 and was funded by capital appropriations from the state.

(Posted September 26, 2013 )