45,000-Square-Foot Facility to Double the Size of the College's Science ComplexChestertown, MD, July 21, 2003 — Washington College has broken ground on a new $19 million Science Center to meet the demands of a steadily increasing number of science majors. Construction began in early June with the demolition of the Litrenta Lecture Hall wing on Dunning Hall and the rerouting of utilities to prepare the foundation. The new 45,000-square-foot building will double the size of the College's science teaching and research complex. Renovations to the existing Dunning-Decker Science Complex will be finished after the completion of the new science building, completing the total modernization of the College's science facilities.
“Our new Science Center has been designed to provide a lab-rich environment for supporting new and evolving models for teaching the sciences to undergraduates,” said Dr. John Toll, President Emeritus of Washington College, noting the College's dedication to an engaged, hands-on approach of collaborative research between students and professors.
While total student enrollment at Washington College has grown from 789 in 1986-87 to 1362 in 2002-03, the number of science majors has tripled in the same period. To meet the needs of these students, the new Science Center and the renovated Dunning-Decker Science Complex will provide cutting-edge laboratories for teaching and research in the natural and behavioral sciences, as well as in mathematics and computer science. The goal, Dr. Toll added, is to provide adequate space for both experiential learning and for faculty research. The new facility will have teaching laboratories, research laboratories and laboratory support space. For classroom space, a new trend in science facilities will be followed: small-group instruction rooms equipped with mobile “white boards.” For reasons of safety and security, renovations will include an automated card access security system for labs, stores and supplies. The new and renovated buildings will meet all current requirements for Life Safety and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This new construction and renovation is the largest capital project in the history of Washington College. The Maryland General Assembly appropriated $2,575,000 in 2002 and private fundraising has brought in additional monies, including $2.7 million from the College's Board of Visitors and Governors and $531,000 raised toward a $1-million goal to name the three-story glass atrium connecting the Science Center with the Dunning-Decker Science Complex in honor of the late chemistry professor and Washington College President Joseph H. McLain.
In addition to these gifts and support from reunion classes, other major funding has come from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, $200,000 from Whiting-Turner Contracting, $100,000 from Roy Ans, Class of 1963, $100,000 from the late Ivon Culver, Class of 1935, and $100,000 from the George I. Alden Trust. Also, the College has received a grant of $48,300 from the National Science Foundation to outfit an aquaculture lab to study fish acoustic behavior, a research specialization for Washington College biology professor Martin Connaughton.
Washington College currently offers bachelor of science degrees in biology and biochemistry, chemistry, physics and psychology/behavioral neuroscience; a minor in earth and planetary science; and special courses of study in engineering, environmental studies, nursing, pharmacy science and premed.
Fundraising for the new Science Center is ongoing with opportunities available to sponsor and to name department research suites, teaching and research laboratories, seminar and classrooms, and faculty offices. For more information, contact the Washington College Office of Development and Parent and Alumni Relations at 410-778-7801.