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$20M science center, supported by Campaign gifts, to open in 2012

The College is moving forward with a renovation and expansion of New London Hall in excess of $20 million which will transform the historic building into a state-of-the-art home for the life sciences and computer science.

The Boston-based architectural firm Payette has been retained and is drawing up final plans in preparation for a groundbreaking next spring. The new facility will open in fall of 2012.

Campaign Funding

The project is being funded primarily through the Campaign for Connecticut College which has raised a total of $142 million to date. A critical piece of the funding is a $5 million grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation announced last week. A committed group of alumnae, including Jean C. Tempel ´65, Judith Ammerman ´60, Judith Opatrny ´72 and Mary Lake Polan ´65 P´02 & P´10, have provided support to Connecticut College that is critical to this project.

"We are deeply grateful to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and our lead supporters for making this project possible during a challenging economic period," said President Leo Higdon. "Their support is a vote of confidence in Connecticut College and the outstanding science education we provide."

Commitment to teaching and research

The new science facility will be a center for collaborative teaching and research that will bring together students and faculty in biology, botany and computer science. Additionally, it will support the College´s highly personalized approach to teaching science that includes expansive research opportunities, strong student-faculty mentoring and a low 9-to-1 student-faculty ratio. Because the College is focused on undergraduate education, students are engaged in research at a level that is typically reserved for graduate students only.

"This new facility will further transform science education at Connecticut College by promoting the interdisciplinary teaching and collaborative research that is at the cutting edge of modern science," Higdon said. "Connecticut College has been an innovator in this approach to science education and is now positioned to strengthen an already exemplary undergraduate science program."

The addition and renovation of New London Hall will provide 23,673 net square feet, including seven flexible teaching laboratories; five classrooms; seven research laboratories with two configurable mega-labs; collaborative shared computer science research labs; a modernized greenhouse to support undergraduate research; and an Electron Microscopy Suite designed to efficiently combine support for both Transmission Electron Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy within one larger space.

Roger Brooks, dean of the faculty and project leader for the new facility, says the new science center will support and strengthen core priorities at Connecticut College. These core priorities include integrated research and teaching, interdisciplinary work, inquiry-based learning, faculty-student collaboration and a deep commitment to the integration of the liberal arts and the natural world.

"Faculty at Connecticut College incorporate research experiences of increasing sophistication into all course-work, from introductory to upper levels," Brooks said. "The new science center will strengthen this commitment to research by offering seamless transitions between spaces for teaching and research, and promoting the integration of research, lecture and hands-on experiments in laboratory settings."

Construction starts in 2010-11

New London Hall will be vacated by the spring 2011 semester to prepare the building for construction. While construction is ongoing, science classes and corresponding labs will be conducted in other campus facilities. The building at 33 Gallows Lane will provide temporary research space during construction.

New London Hall, the college´s first building, was named in honor of the people of New London who helped raise the seed money that established the college within the city. The four-story building on the east side of Tempel Green was designed in the collegiate gothic style and has stone facades with intersecting gable roofs. A ground level greenhouse located on the south side of the building facing Fanning Hall will also be renovated. The entire project will be carried out under the college´s green building policy, with the goal of achieving LEED certification.

The state-of-the-art science facility will anchor a new science hub at the entrance to the college campus. The college celebrates its Centennial in 2011, and the groundbreaking at the oldest building on campus -- during the Centennial year -- is a major milestone that reflects a confidence in Connecticut College´s future and a respectful salute to its historic past. 


July 14, 2010