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Science Learning Center ribbon cutting presidents pick-h
A ribbon-cutting was held for UGA's Science Learning Center Aug. 17. (Photo credit: Peter Frey/UGA).

New building will provide strong foundation in sciences at UGA

UGA dedicated its 122,500-square-foot Science Learning Center on Aug. 17.

An estimated 10,000-12,000 students will use the building each day for classes in chemistry, biology, physics, ecology, math, computer science and genetics.

The three-story facility, which opened Aug. 11 for fall semester classes, aims to provide a strong foundation in the sciences at UGA. Supported by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and funded by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly, the center cost $48 million and includes 33 instructional labs, two 280-seat lecture halls, two 72-seat SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs) classrooms as well as spaces for informal student collaboration.

“This impressive facility represents a transformation of science education at the University of Georgia,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We are especially grateful to Gov. Deal, the General Assembly and the board of regents for their support.”

With updated instructional spaces to facilitate the most effective science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, teaching methods, the Science Learning Center is geared toward retaining and recruiting more STEM majors with the goal of increasing the number of students who pursue careers in these fields.

The facility represents the university’s mission of teaching and learning, according to University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby.

“How exciting it is to have this facility come into being in a time when, more than ever, we need to be more productive, more efficient and more successful in producing the young people, particularly young scientists, of tomorrow, because they are the key to quality of economic viability of this nation for many years to come,” Huckaby said.”I look forward to the great things that will come from the graduates who will study here.”

Others speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Gregory Robinson, UGA Foundation Distinguished Professor in Chemistry, and Hayley Schroeder, an undergraduate Honors student majoring in ecology and entomology.

“When I first came to UGA two years ago, I was immediately amazed by the enthusiasm of the faculty and students I encountered,” Schroeder said. “It just took the smallest hint that you were interested in their work, and they were off. Whether it was stream ecology, food systems, medicine or even some unheard-of little insect—after talking to them for a few minutes, suddenly I was excited, too. I believe this contagious excitement, curiosity and inclusive mentality is now embodied by the new Science Learning Center.”

Located on the southwest corner of the D.W. Brooks Mall adjacent to Pharmacy South and across from the Miller Plant Sciences Building, the Science Learning Center houses numerous study areas for group projects and individual learning as well as a cafe. Rooms for formal instruction will be used primarily for introductory courses in chemistry, physics, biological sciences and ecology.

“With this new facility, the University of Georgia, and indeed the state of Georgia, has thrown down the gauntlet and is sending a clear message: Not only do we accept this responsibility of science education, we fully embrace the challenges that are before us,” Robinson said. “The new Science Learning Center will allow us to introduce the wondrous, captivating and amazing world of science to undergraduate students in a state-of-the-art, modern facility.”