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New $70 million bio building opens

By Eva Moy

The biology department's new 250,000-square foot, $70 million building - known only as Building 68 - officially opened Oct. 7. The biology building brought together faculty and researchers that were spread across Buildings 16 and 56.

"It's a spectacular modern research building for biological science," said Professor Phillip A Sharp, head of the biology department. "There have been many faculty who have told me how the movement in the building has benefitted their research program."

The new teaching laboratories in the basement of the building also helped relieve overcrowding in laboratory classes, Sharp said. The number of students majoring in biology has doubled in the past two years, he added.

Building 68 has "beautiful sunny labs for people who spend most of their days and nights working," Sharp said.

"It's a beautiful, interesting building," he said. The entryway features a large mural and a solid floor-to-ceiling column that has been molded and painted to resemble the trunk of a tree.

Although the building was originally scheduled to open in December 1993, staff and faculty did not start moving in until last May. However, some laboratory facilities and details such as landscaping were still not complete at the time of the dedication.

The physical design of Building 68 took advantage of bright natural lighting and large spacious areas, encouraging interaction between laboratories in research and social settings.

Also, the Bio Cafe on the first floor and two tea rooms on every floor with basic kitchen facilities are "essential to the building since eating is not allowed in the laboratories," said Francis A. Lawton, project manager for the building.