Just as scientific discovery is always moving forward, so is the William Gaston Science Building (WGS). The remodel of the WGS is an influential leap forward for our biology, chemistry, and physics departments. The architecture company, Choate Construction, which Belmont Abbey hired to devise the renovations, is based out of Raleigh, NC, and is known for their laboratory designs on college campuses.
Belmont Abbey College focuses on bettering the education of their students every day. This renovation improves the educational experience for all of our current students and equips the faculty members in all of our science programs. With these advancements, the Abbey will be launching a new biochemistry program in the near future. According to veteran biology professor Dr. Mike McLeod, “As a part of the gift, the donor asked that we begin a biochemistry program, and we will do so.” The current faculty members are working on designing the new program, as well as searching for new faculty members for next year to help get the biochemistry program off the ground.
The new WGS, now even more, supports all the great work of Belmont Abbey students and professors, and the entire Abbey community looks forward to the growth and discovery that will come forth as a result of these improvements. The labs began fully functioning spring semester 2019.
The construction that has taken place over the summer and through the fall semester has accomplished many goals. This opening phase added new biochemistry and chemistry labs on the first floor and transformed existing second floor chemistry labs into physics labs and classroom space. The final phase involves adding more windows in the building to increase natural light and a redesign of one of the primary entrances to the building.
The construction required our faculty to take great measures to avoid the disturbance of classes. The biology, chemistry, and physics departments all shared the biology labs during the fall semester. Although this arrangement was not ideal, sharing the labs now will be worth the future outcome of the building.
Since these renovations only affected half of the building, this leaves the other half to complete in the future. The drawing from the original architect showed the next steps being the renovation of the science auditorium and adding a second level to the auditorium with classrooms in that new space.
Overall, the students and faculty of the science departments are extremely excited for the completed project. Dr. McLeod says, “I am very happy with the renovations done so far. The chemistry and physics labs look very nice, shiny, and modern.”
Senior Biology major Genevieve Hickin says, “The science building’s new renovations are extremely exciting. For me, it shows the growth of the school and the program. I’m anxious to work in them next semester, and I am excited to see all the great work students will be able to do with them.”
Sophomore Biology Major Joseph Cooney is also looking forward to the new changes, “I think you can sense everyone is excited for the new labs to be finished. Having the new labs will allow us to work in a top-of-the-line lab and perform experiments we might not have been able to in the older labs. Also, prospective future students will see the new labs and be excited to join the program and continue to enhance the Biology department.”