St. Norbert College
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June 2008

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Enhanced facilities move future research possibilities a step closer

A donation of $375,000 will fund schematics for the renovation and expansion of the Dr. John R. Minahan Science Hall, a project designed to facilitate current and future research and education in the natural sciences.

“This gift allows us to move the project forward a whole year,” says Michael Marsden, dean of the college and academic vice president.

“We are now able to take the careful and detailed programming work we have done over the past couple of years for our renovation and expansion of our science facilities, and translate them into schematics—architectural renderings. This is the next important stage of the project, which will allow us to proceed with major fundraising.”

Science faculty members say the renovation project will address two dictums for the future of scientific discovery: infusion and interaction.

Infusion refers to the integration of teaching and research throughout the curriculum. Laboratory exercises and field trips will become avenues of discovery, providing students with a genuine scientific experience. Interaction refers to the development of interdisciplinary scientific relationships within the college community.

In order for these principles to be effectively implemented, the new science facilities must:

•    have the appropriate information technology and instrumentation for modern interdisciplinary scientific research;
•    Provide adequate spaces for student-faculty research, student-student interaction and interdisciplinary collaboration;
•    Support a curriculum that is rich in laboratory and field-based experiences for all students; and
•    Be flexible enough to meet the future demands of interdisciplinary pedagogy and research.

A flexible design
Creating a state-of-the-art science facility that can withstand the test of time is a challenge, Marsden says. But it’s one that he believes the college is ready to tackle.

“We have utilized the professional services of the best science facilities consultants in the country, Research Facilities Design of San Diego.

“While no one has the ability to predict the future accurately, we can design flexibility into the facility, which will allow for future modifications and adjustments as needed.”

The gift to St. Norbert College came from Mark Stinski 63, a professor of virology (the study of viruses) at the University of Iowa. Stinski attended St. Norbert from 1959-61 and also has relatives who graduated from the college.

Dee Geurts-Bengtson (College Advancement) says, “This tremendous gift from Dr. Stinski will go a long way in making St. Norbert College an even better place for students, faculty and staff.”

The Dr. John R. Minahan Science Hall was dedicated in 1967. Areas of the building have undergone various changes over the years, but this planned renovation and expansion is on an unprecedented scale.

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