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ISC update: Looking forward to spring break

  • Integrated Science Center
    Integrated Science Center  New construction of ISC Phase I (left) is still very much hard-hat territory. ISC Phase II will be a gutted and refurbished Rogers Hall (right).  
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We've passed the halfway point in the three-year construction process of Phase I and II of William and Mary's Integrated Science Center and progress is on track to meet the first important deadline-spring break.

ISC Phase I (new building)

Ground floor     Psychology and biology labs

First floor          Chemistry offices and labs

Second floor     Chemistry offices, labs and large instrument facilities

Third floor         Biology labs and offices

ISC Phase II (Rogers Hall)

First floor          Psychology labs and offices

Second floor     Biology labs, offices and herbarium

Third floor         Greenhouse (proposed)

"We have to move the chemistry department lock, stock and barrel over the spring break," explained Dennis Manos, vice provost for research and graduate and professional studies. Chemistry will move out of Rogers and into the new ISC I building adjoining. "It isn't so much that chemistry has to move in by spring break, but that they have to move out of Rogers, so that we can begin the process of turning it into ISC II," Manos continued. "Rogers will get what is referred to gently as a ‘gut-out.' That means being torn to shreds-ductwork being removed and walls being disassembled-and no one can be in there."

Groundbreaking for ISC I was February, 2006. The projected cost is $54.6 million, of which only a portion will be borne by funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The development of the Integrated Science Center is an expensive and lengthy process for William and Mary, but a necessary one. The work not only will provide researchers with new state-of-the-art lab facilities, but the design also facilitates initiatives that cross departmental boundaries. A good example of such a program is neuroscience, which has grown in a few years to be one of the most popular undergraduate majors as well as fertile grounds for research.

"The general philosophy in 25 words or less is that disciplines are not unimportant, but that, increasingly, inter-disciplinary is the thing," Manos said. "Bringing chemistry together with psychology in a neuro program and bringing biology together with psychology to look at anatomical and physiological effects-all this interplay and overlap is what the ISC is designed to maximize."

Spring break is the first week of March, 2008, but it won't be much of a break for anyone involved in the construction of the ISC. The work will continue for some time, with the teaching labs from the biology department scheduled to move over to the ISC I from Millington Hall this summer. Moving a chemistry or a biology department is a great deal more complicated than a household move. Moving lab instruments such as lasers, nuclear magnetic resonance devices and mass spectrometers is sensitive, specialty work requiring careful coordination. Most of the instruments will need to be recalibrated after relocation to their new labs.

It will take a year for Rogers to be gutted out and refurbished into ISC Phase II. The schedule calls for full occupancy by biology and psychology into ISC II over spring break of 2009.

Even then we may not be done. The College has requested funds for an additional science facility near the same location once ISC II is done. The new facilities will have wide benefit for researchers and also for undergraduates.

"Every student at William and Mary will use the Integrated Science Center," says Dean of Arts and Sciences Carl Strikwerda.   i