In a landmark endeavor, Roanoke College is poised to embark on a transformative journey with a visionary project: the Science Center. Representing the apex of extensive collaboration across the campus community, including a dedicated faculty advisory group, and backed by $50 million in donations, this state-of-the-art facility is set to revolutionize science education and research at the college.
At the heart of the project’s initial phase is the replacement of the Massengill Auditorium, a $30 million endeavor that plans to break ground in 2024. Anticipated to take approximately two years to complete, this innovative facility will not only enhance the campus landscape but also elevate the standard of science education to new heights.
The Science Center’s visionary approach is centered around strategic planning by commencing with the replacement of the Massengill Auditorium which has the lowest foot traffic and will be the least disruptive to the day-to-day activities of the college. The facility will be equipped with cutting-edge teaching and learning spaces, ushering in a new era of scientific exploration and discovery. This stands in stark contrast to the original buildings constructed in the 1970s, now being replaced, which lacked the infrastructure to accommodate the technological advancements of the digital age.
A key feature of the Science Center is that every Roanoke College student will benefit from the innovative courses to be housed within the center. Psychology, biology and environmental studies, among other popular majors, will find a new home in this dynamic facility, providing students with unparalleled opportunities for hands-on research and collaborative learning.
“The new state-of-the-art science center will bring together students and faculty from across the sciences, allowing for collaboration in both research and in the classroom. The facility will be a space for students of all majors, whether in the sciences or taking a general education class, to gain experience learning with their heads, their hands, and their hearts as they head off to jobs, graduate school, and professional programs throughout the country,” said Chris Lassiter, a biology professor.
The impact of Roanoke College’s science-related initiatives on the local community is already evident in current programs, such as the food forests partnership with the City of Salem. This project has garnered immense excitement, harnessing the college’s scientific expertise to create sustainable and eco-friendly solutions for the region, leaving a lasting, positive impact on the environment and its inhabitants.
Roanoke College Vice President of Advancement Kimberly Blair said, “The college has been working diligently with our faculty, loyal alumni, and donors to support this new chapter in the Roanoke story. We are excited to bring to life a scientific transformation on campus with a modern Science Center that embraces the future. We are confident that this new journey will take us to the heights we all aspire and meet society’s most pressing needs.”
For more information about the Science Center project, including insights into the vision, reputation, and interdisciplinary collaboration highlighting this remarkable initiative, visit the college’s project page, https://www.roanoke.edu//science_center for more information.
Photos courtesy of Roanoke College.