A science building with high-tech gadgets and the latest in innovative tools has opened at Rivier University in Nashua.
“This is a really amazing and interactive space to explore our interest in science,” said Claudia Torres, a student at Rivier, who is minoring in biology.
This fall, the two-story Science and Innovation Center opened, complete with numerous labs, research space, collaboration areas and a student atrium.
The 36,000-square-feet building is part of the university’s Vision 2020 improvement plan.
The $19 million facility integrates biology, biotechnology, astronomy, environmental science, public health, chemistry and physics with a visible learning environment designed to set students up for success in the real world, according to Sister Paula Marie Buley, president of Rivier University.
Upon entering the lobby of the complex, visitors are met with a large, interactive digital video wall.
“One of our primary themes for this building is ensuring that science is on display,” said Buley.
The large, open-concept facility with glass walls was designed so that classrooms are visible to guests and students. The classrooms allow for professors to bring live web content into their lectures with document cameras, sound systems and televisions that offer remote learning settings.
“Wherever you are in the world, you can feel as if you are right here in the classrooms,” said Buley.
There are about 10 faculty members in the science fields at Rivier, as well as an estimated 400 nursing students, 60 biology and biotechnology students and additional students in other science specialities.
The Science and Innovation Center also includes a tissue culture room, state of the art genetics equipment, modern anatomy and physiology devices, an instrumentation lab, chemistry lab with individual fume hoods, a rain garden for botany studies and faculty office suites.
Todd Kent, director of audio visual services at Rivier, described the new facility as “the next generation of classroom technology.”
Students don’t actually have to be participating in a class to see what is happening in the nearby academic setting, said Kent. The video wall inside the atrium allows for interactive, shared learning.
“Science is not boring. It is not memorization. It is not solitary. It is filled with collaboration, engagement and study,” said Buley.
“We didn’t build this for ourselves. We built this to support our entire community.”
With the new complex now open, Buley said this is an ideal time to recruit new students excited about the various science fields.
The technology on hand, which is used in the real world, prepares students for their future careers — even careers that don’t exist today, she added.
Torres agreed, saying the new science building provides countless opportunities for future generations of Rivier students.
The building was completed in August with Hutter Construction Corp. and Derck & Edson Associates assisting with the project. A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30 at the building’s entrance plaza, which is located at the corner of Clement Street and South Main Street.