0

Oxford College to build $30M science building

Oxford College’s new $29.9 million science building will be located on the northwest corner of the Oxford quad, where Branham and East residence halls now sit. The dorms will be torn down to make more room for the science building. (Special photo)

Oxford College’s new $29.9 million science building will be located on the northwest corner of the Oxford quad, where Branham and East residence halls now sit. The dorms will be torn down to make more room for the science building. (Special photo)

OXFORD — Students of Oxford College will soon have a new $29.9 million science building once construction is completed in January 2016.

The college announced last week it will break ground on May 10 on the property located on the northwest corner of the Oxford quad, where Branham and East residence halls now sit.

The halls, which were built in the 1970s, will be torn down to make more room for the science building.

“Having a science facility that can meet the needs of Oxford’s thriving science curriculum has been our primary goal for a number of years,” Stephen H. Bowen, dean of Oxford College, said. “The completion of this building will have an enormous impact on an already-effective and successful program.”

The building will be the largest on the Oxford campus and was designed by EYP, an architectural firm noted for higher education facilities that reflect universities’ history.

The main entrance to the four-story building will lead visitors to the “Nucleus,” a two-story, dramatic and inviting gathering space. Designed to feel like the center of the building, it also will be used for group study, learning activities or meetings for faculty and students.

There will be nine teaching laboratories for biology, chemistry, physics and geology along with three labs for research, three classrooms, an imaging center and a greenhouse.

Students who enter Oxford College expressing interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors continue on to graduate in STEM disciplines at higher rates than students nationwide.

“The small class size (a typical maximum is 24) allows faculty to know and work with each student individually, and Oxford faculty teach their own laboratories, an unusual learning experience for students at the introductory level,” said Eloise Carter, Oxford College professor of biology and lead faculty member for the planning and design for the building. “In addition, Oxford offers many research opportunities to its students, all of whom are freshmen and sophomores. With all Oxford students required to take at least one laboratory course, the new science building will touch the education of every student.”