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New Carthage science center boosts teaching and research capabilities

When they returned for classes this month, Carthage College students found a brand new science center. Beginning this semester, students have full access to the $43 million facility, increasing classroom and laboratory space by 40 percent and providing new ways for students and faculty to collaborate on cutting-edge research in the natural sciences.
The project includes a major renovation of the 70,000-square-foot David A. Straz, Jr. Center and a new, 35,000-square-foot wing that extends to the south and east. The facility embraces its perch on the Lake Michigan shore, meshing with the freshwater component of Carthage’s integrated sciences initiative.
“What better place to study these than on the shores of the second-largest body of fresh water in the world?” asks physics professor Kevin Crosby, dean for the division of natural and social sciences.
The center offers twelve new interdisciplinary laboratories for research in such pioneering areas as materials science, nanotechnology, engineering design, molecular biology, and atomic microscopy. Students will benefit from collaborative learning areas outside classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices, where students and professors can gather for informal discussions and project work. The center now features a two-story, glass-enclosed atrium for exhibits, public gatherings, student poster presentations, and planetarium shows. Interdisciplinary, curricular integration across the sciences will be facilitated through multidisciplinary teaching laboratories and Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) classrooms. Students and visitors can view science on display with glass-walled classrooms and laboratories.  Now, students can experience more fully the campus setting alongside Lake Michigan with an outdoor classroom featuring natural stone seating that overlooks the Great Lake. 
In the last decade, the percentage of Carthage graduates in a natural science has doubled. That matches the rise among incoming students who intend to major in biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, geography, mathematics, neuroscience, or physics. A dedication ceremony is planned on Oct. 3.