CAS Newsletter: New Regional Science Education Center

Construction has not started yet, but great strides have been made over the last six months to build NSU’s new Regional Science Education Center (RSEC). Faculty, staff, and administrators have worked closely with our team of architects, designers, and engineers to bring the design phase to a successful conclusion this fall. Everything is proceeding smoothly to begin construction in spring 2018 and open the building for classes for the fall 2019 semester. The RSEC will be located at the corner of South State Street and Twelfth Avenue Southeast on the site currently occupied by the football practice field. It will be a two-story facility totaling approximately 50,000 square feet including state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms, and offices for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and GIS. The building will also feature a new greenhouse and an outdoor instructional space, as well as several spaces to facilitate communication and collaboration among students and between students and faculty. “This new building will provide countless opportunities for both students and faculty in the sciences,” said Department Chair and Professor of Biology Jodie Ramsay. “Classrooms and labs will be arranged in ways that encourage active learning. Student and faculty research will also greatly benefit from the shared lab space and common lab prep areas. In addition to the building itself, we will have an outdoor classroom and multiple gardens with native plantings that will not only be aesthetically pleasing but will also provide hands-on learning opportunities for our students. We are all very excited to see what the future holds for the sciences at NSU.”

Once finished, the RSEC will become a new centerpiece on campus and allow expanded and enhanced opportunities for education, research, and outreach for Northern, the Aberdeen community, and the region for decades to come. The RSEC’s primary purpose will be to support science education and train K-12 science teachers for schools across South Dakota and beyond. The new building will also help Northern meet the continued growth in the numbers of students interested in majoring in science, especially in the fields of Allied Health, Environmental Science, and Biotechnology. “Our students deserve to learn in a space that maximizes their interaction with faculty and peers,” explained Assistant Professor of Biology Andrew Russell. “The new Regional Science Education Center provides several collaborative spaces and new learning environments that Northern doesn't currently have. It will be much easier for faculty to engage students in classroom and laboratory activities that mimic the skills and techniques that they will need in the medical field. It will also enhance our undergraduate research experience by providing far more dedicated laboratory space for independent research projects.”

The new RSEC is also clear testament to the close partnerships that bind Northern, Aberdeen, and the region. Specifically, the RSEC is being funded through over $25 million in private donations contributing to Northern’s broader strategic campus master plan. “The Regional Science Education Center will be a gateway to campus,” said NSU President Tim Downs. “I know our faculty, staff, and students are excited to have a new academic building, and we’re thankful for the generosity of our donors. A goal we all have at Northern is to enhance our students’ experience; this building will do just that.” This robust support and continuing generosity will allow the construction of the first stand-alone classroom building on campus in over 50 years. The RSEC will be a lasting legacy to our broad dedication to invest in the success of our students and our community.