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UAB celebrates grand opening of East Science Hall and South Science Hall

August 18, 2023 · Projects

Photography credits: UAB University Relations

As excitement builds for a new academic year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, students, faculty and staff within the College of Arts and Sciences’ departments of Physics and Biology have a new place to call home.

South Science Hall and East Science Hall — part of the Science and Engineering Complex — officially opened Aug. 17.

“UAB is excited to open this first phase of our Science and Engineering Complex, which will advance strategic aims in all pillars of our mission, including our ambitious goal of reaching $1 billion in research expenditures,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “Here students, faculty and staff — from the departments of Biology, Physics and Chemistry, and others campuswide — will collaborate more effectively than ever and accelerate innovation, economic development and the training of a 21st century workforce for the state of Alabama.”

The facility provides more than 138,000 gross square feet of classrooms, instructional space and laboratories for the Physics, Biology and Chemistry departments, and administrative space will help support the goals of UAB’s strategic plan, Forging the Future.

“The college is looking forward to having the inaugural set of classes and labs in the new building this fall semester,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kecia M. Thomas, Ph.D. “This world-class facility is designed to encourage conversation and collaboration among students and researchers across biology, chemistry, physics and, eventually, engineering. Regardless of a student’s major, every student who fulfills a lab science requirement in one of those departments will have an opportunity to enjoy this incredible building. Given the proximity to Heritage and University halls, we hope the new building will foster greater interaction among faculty and students across the college, as well as UAB.”

South Science Hall and East Science Hall, and the subsequent phases of the entire Science and Engineering Complex, will also serve as a magnet for top-tier talent. With its world-class amenities and collaborative atmosphere, the facility will be attractive to renowned researchers and faculty members from around the world. This influx of exceptional minds will further bolster UAB’s research capabilities and contribute to its position as a leading institution in science and engineering.

Located in the heart of campus, the facility is at the center of the student experience. The Hill Student Center, Heritage Hall, University Hall and the UAB Campus Green are just across the street from South Science Hall and East Science Hall, making them convenient for students, faculty and staff.

The Department of Physics is now preparing students of all backgrounds and levels of preparation for the fourth industrial revolution through advanced materials, advanced computation and advanced photonics. Learn more about the impact this new facility will have on the department.

The new building will have state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for research. This will allow the Department of Physics to conduct cutting-edge research in such areas as advanced materials, advanced computation and advanced photonics. The building also includes an open layout with offices, labs and research areas that are interconnected.
Faculty and research members will benefit as well, particularly when it comes to the open design space that allows for easier collaboration.

In the past, the Department of Biology’s Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience offerings have been restricted to only biology honors students. However, the new building will allow CURE to be open to any student taking a biology course. This will give more students the opportunity to learn the scientific process and develop their research skills.

The Department of Biology’s entire research operation will move into two large labs, each capable of accommodating approximately 60 people. Learn more about the impact this new facility will have on the department.

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 33 undergraduate and 23 graduate degree programs. Its goal is to ensure that each student graduates with the knowledge and tools to succeed in an expanding and increasingly complex global future. With 19 departments — home to over 300 full-time faculty — the College of Arts and Sciences is the largest academic entity in the UAB enterprise.

Goodwyn Mills Cawood was responsible for the architectural design of the building, while Lord Aeck Sargent served as the lab and research spaces consultant. Hoar Construction undertook the construction process and completed the project.