Building promotes growth in sciences
The new and upcoming Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health provides students with new equipment and more lab space. | John Uy/THE CHIMES
Construction will begin in late February next semester on The Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health, which is set to open in 2018. Biola hopes to prepare science students to become leaders who are grounded in biblical teaching, and according to the University Plan, the new center will help fulfill this vision.
Need for Space
Physics and engineering department chair John Bloom said the ideas for the new building emerged about six years ago when the science departments realized there was a lack of building space. The science departments originally hoped for a five-story building, but settled on a four-story building due to cost.
At approximately 65,000 square feet, the new building will have four stories and larger lab spaces. The lab space in the current building, Bardwell, is limited due to more incoming science majors. There will also be two classrooms for nursing, a small classroom for math and two classrooms for other sciences.
Associate professor of biological sciences and department chair Matt Cruzen said large lecture halls may also be built to accommodate larger classes.
“The large lecture hall that could be in the new building would not only serve the sciences, but also the rest of the university,” Cruzen said.
New, Personal Equipment
Since the building has more lab space, Bloom said it will have new equipment that will reflect what is being used in the industry, including chemistry spectrometers, fume hoods and biological safety hoods for handling chemicals and pathogens. Cruzen said image analysis for diagnostic microscopy, flow cytometry and electron microscopes will also be purchased.
Each student will also have their own equipment, allowing them to gain more experience in research and methodology, Cruzen aid. More space allows for a certification for a lab technician program that he desires to create which will allow students to become trained and certified laboratory technicians, Cruzen said.
There will also be labs for faculty and student research, which is essential to prepare students for industry careers.
“Anything you can put in a resume that has research involved—publications, etcetera, is only a win for the students. It helps them get their leg up in the competition if they’ve done some student research,” Cruzen said.
Built for Scientists
Bloom said the science departments influenced the building’s design and tried to avoid any design flaws by communicating with the builders.
“These people have been very good at getting our input, so I think we’ve been able to avoid a number of flaws that you tend to see when someone who’s designed a particular building doesn’t know your particular needs well,” Bloom said.
Students anticipate the completion of the science center. Senior pre-medical biology major Kenny Lowry is graduating this year and said he is sad he will not be around to take courses in the new building. However, Lowry is excited for its completion and said it is a big improvement for the science departments.
“I love Bardwell, but there’s not much room in there for all the science majors. The updated technology is really good for the department and for science here at Biola overall,” Lowry said.
Junior human biology major Wilmer Figueroa looks forward to the building’s construction because it will provide room.
“I think it’s cool because it’s going to allow more resources to be stored, like different equipment. Some of the classrooms are pretty crammed also,” Figueroa said.
Producing Better Results
Lowry said the new equipment will aid students’ learning by providing more hands-on time in the lab since students will not be sharing as much equipment.
“The better your equipment is, the better your results are and the more clearly you can understand what you are doing,” Lowry said.
Figueroa discussed how the upgraded equipment may allow for a higher degree of research in the sciences at Biola.
“Right now we don’t really have big, funded research projects like other schools and I think with more advanced equipment, maybe the school or science department will get a big donation,” Figueroa said.