As the oldest building on campus, the Science building has been the center for scientific research and discovery for Washington Adventist University (WAU)—and its previous designations—for a great many years. Major plans to remodel and refurbish the building have been in the making. Some improvements have already been made to the interior of the Science building in preparation for students’ return for the 2021 Fall semester. This decision was made with the goal of providing students with comfortable spaces to study besides attending lectures and their lab activities.
Over the summer, staff and faculty members, as well as some student teaching assistants, collaborated to clean and reorganize spaces, while other students assisted in the retrieval of decorations and helped to install them. As of now, several renovations have been completed, starting with a former study area that has been cleaned and reorganized with tables and chairs in a manner that observes social distancing guidelines. On the second floor of the Science building, the hallways feature a special showcase with posters of experimental projects by students created during their laboratory courses and summer internship research experiences and informative scientific posters for students to read and be inspired. The Biology laboratory was also reorganized with its old and unused equipment removed and space made for newly installed microbiological incubators donated by the Uniformed Services University.
On the third floor, there is a new student study area complete with sofas, coffee tables, 8-foot long tables, and a small desk for students to use. It is intended to be a very relaxing space decorated with yoga balls, art paintings, and indoor plants. Also on the same floor, the laboratory areas have been cleaned and reorganized to free space for new, state-of-the-art analytical instruments such as an NMR, HPLC system, FTIR spectrometer, and two spectrophotometers.
“These are the major activities currently taking place at this time at the Biology and Chemistry at WAU; but without a doubt, there will be more things to come,” said Dr. Samuel Perez, the Chair of the Biology Department. “We will continue to equip our department in order to provide a competitive education to students who come to WAU to get a degree in Biological Sciences on our way to accreditation in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, God willing someday.”
One of the latest plans to update the interior of the Science building was donated by a couple—who shall remain anonymous—who heard of the proposed plans to renovate the building. The donation will be put towards installing three monitor screens on each floor of the Science building, in the view of the students that traffic through the building. This project is planned to be completed by the end of November or December. Another project currently underway will be done in collaboration with the Honors College Program and in conversation with an education company that provides preparatory courses—for example, the MCAT and LSAT—to register WAU as one of its in-person training sites. This will likely come into fruition during the 2022 Spring semester.
The overall goal for the Science building is to establish a space that fosters academic studies, creativity, and community that will indirectly build the retention of each student that walks through its halls. Having an environment that is conducive to these effects and is in close proximity to available resources will further encourage students to use those resources, which also includes interacting with their professors, tutors, and fellow students.