By Lethbridge Herald on August 15, 2019.
New facility will open to students in September
It’s not easy moving and uprooting 50 years of science to bring it to a new space, but for University of Lethbridge research scientists there is now no other place they would rather be.
“There is the whole aspect of basically taking people who have worked here 30 years out of their existing lab they have been occupying, and being productive in — and cleaning up and physically moving their things from Point A to Point B,” confirms U of L science facilities director Gene Lublinkhof.
“We uprooted everything and threw them in this new building. It’s definitely a huge change for some of our scientists. And some people approached it with apprehension, because change is difficult.
“But once we started moving, and people actually got into this new building, you can tell the excitement was growing. I also know the students absolutely love it. Our next big opportunity here is to wow the undergraduates coming in September.”
And wow students they will, if the exclusive media tour of the new Destination Project Science and Academic Building on Thursday was any indication. The bright, spacious building, filled ground to ceiling with glass and advanced laboratory spaces, offers unparalleled amenities and research opportunities to all who attend there, says Matthew Letts, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science.
“We’re experiencing a lot of excitement around the completion of this fantastic new building, which is the best in the country right now,” he says. “And we want to invite the community to come and see it and understand what we have here. We want the community to come in and see all the trans-disciplinary research being carried out. This science building is a real leap forward. The building is (custom) designed for intensive research activity.”
And the new facility is already having a major impact on the transformation of the university as a whole, confirms Letts — prior to the opening of the new facility the school was already gaining a reputation for being one of the premier undergraduate, trans-disciplinary, academic, research centres in Canada. It’s a reputation now fully solidified by the inclusion of a state-of-the-art science building, says Letts.
“We have already seen a substantial increase in applications to the University of Lethbridge across the board, but especially in the sciences, this year,” he confirms.
“Last I heard its on the order of 20 or 25 per cent in a single year, and I do believe this building has something to do that. People in our southern Alberta community are recognizing this is the place to go to get a personalized education at the undergraduate level. Our graduate student levels are also increasing, and when you look at there is another area which has increased dramatically— our international applications.”
The University of Lethbridge will hold a public ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the Science and Academic Building during its “Big Bang” homecoming celebration Sept. 13-14.
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