Just over a year ago, Mary Baldwin College celebrated the start of renovations to the Jesse Cleveland Pearce Science Center with a groundbreaking ceremony. The first phase of the transformation is now complete, and students and faculty have benefitted from the changes for weeks.
“You should have heard the screams on the first day of the semester when the students got off the elevator and saw the space for the first time,” said Associate Professor of Biology Paul Deeble.
Earlier this semester, musk shrews (observed by students in the behavioral psychology department) as well as fluorescence and electron microscopes were moved into new first-floor homes. Physics students began work in a new lab. A chalk wall in the bright, first-floor common area allows students to collaborate on complicated scientific formulas.
“I really prefer the space to where we had class and lab last semester,” said physics student Sasha Boyer ’14 who will be conducting research in Pearce this summer on flexible memristors — tiny, nanoelectric devices. “It is better situated for cooperation because of the way the tables are set up and it’s just nice to have our own dedicated space.”
Summer and fall semester work also brought significant changes, including new classroom and lab space on the second floor; an update of the heating and cooling, electrical, and technological systems; painting; replacing old cabinets, floors, and light fixtures; and installing a new water line, modified sewer line, and a new acid neutralization system. This is the first major renovation of the 40-year-old building.
The updates to Pearce would not have been possible without a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant and $775,000 from donors. Work is already underway by the faculty and architects to plan the next phase of renovation. At the same time, the college is actively soliciting contributions for this undertaking. Anyone who wishes to support the renovation may contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 540-887-7011.