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Husson University Alumni and Friends

Health Sciences Lab Renovation Project

Click here to view the project prospectus.

Click here to read the President's message to full-time College of Science and Humanities faculty.

Husson currently has seven undergraduate laboratory spaces located on the first and third floors of Peabody Hall and in the Human Performance Laboratory in the Newman Gymnasium. The General Biology and Anatomy and Physiology labs were constructed in 2008 to support the School of Pharmacy. The Human Performance Laboratory, where courses for Exercise Science and Physical Therapy programs are taught, was renovated in summer 2018 in response to the growth of those programs. The proposed laboratory renovations focus on the Peabody Hall undergraduate laboratories and will allow all biology, chemistry, and physics labs to be delivered on the third floor of Peabody Hall. Positioning all undergraduate laboratories on the same floor will promote interdisciplinary communication and collaboration among science students and faculty, which positively impacts student engagement in undergraduate science programs.

Redevelopment of the science lab areas on the third floor of Peabody Hall will consist of remodeling existing labs, relocating physics labs, adding new equipment, upgrading some existing equipment, and creating a new, larger health sciences lab. Top priorities for the proposed lab redevelopment are modernizing the laboratories and creating more efficient and flexible spaces that optimize the laboratory experience for students and faculty.

Specific space modifications include:

  • construction of a new 1500 sq. ft. health sciences laboratory,
  • upgrading the Microbiology laboratory space to meet Biosafety Level 2 criteria,
  • addition of collaborative workspace for students and faculty,
  • addition of an instrument room,
  • expansion the Advanced Chemistry laboratory to include an instrumentation workspace,
  • aesthetic and functional upgrades to the Anatomy and Physiology, General Chemistry, and Advanced Chemistry laboratories,
  • development of a physical sciences laboratory that can be used as a “maker space,” and
  • streamlined laboratory storage and preparation spaces

The new health sciences lab will be able to accommodate 32 students at a time, significantly increasing our capacity. This new laboratory has been approved by the Board of Trustees to be included as part of Phase 1 which will be completed this summer (2021). Current plans call for a two-phase project, with work being done primarily in summer 2021 and summer 2022. The labs must remain available for instruction during the academic year. By fall 2022, upon completion of the project, we will be able to accommodate existing enrollments in our science programs and begin to explore possible additions to our health sciences portfolio.

With greater capacity in our science labs, we can also explore potential programmatic additions to our healthcare professions portfolio. We have begun preliminary discussions with several partners about the feasibility of a medical laboratory technician undergraduate degree at the university. This program or others become much more viable once the quality of our laboratory instruction is expanded and upgraded.

Besides meeting the increasing capacity demands, the renovation will allow us to better prepare students seeking graduate work in the sciences rather than direct entry to a healthcare profession. The ability to collaborate with a faculty member on an undergraduate research project can convey not only in-depth scientific knowledge but a set of laboratory skills that makes a student highly competitive for entry into a graduate science program. Scientific inquiry undertaken individually or in a small group, supervised by a faculty member, is an opportunity for students to generate, analyze, and interpret data with the possibility of presenting their findings to the wider scientific community. Such projects are extremely difficult under our present circumstances; the proposed upgrades to our lab facilities would greatly increase those chances.

In summary, the renovation/expansion would allow us to complement recent improvements in our program-specific graduate and undergraduate facilities, to meet our demand for laboratory instruction space in response to increased enrollments, to add undergraduate research opportunities, and to explore adding new healthcare professional programs at the university.