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Renovated Laboratory Building Now a Cutting-edge Learning Facility

August 26, 2015 -- Starting Monday, more than 2,000 students taking biology, chemistry, geology and other science labs will be studying in state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms, thanks to a $15 million renovation to the Laboratory (L) Building that was funded by voter-approved bonds.
Renovated Laboratory Building Now a Cutting-edge Learning Facility

Aug 26, 2015

After more than a year of major renovation work, the 28-year-old building is coming back to life as a cutting-edge, 21st century learning facility. There will be an official grand opening on Sept. 18.

“Our students will be doing their lab work in a modern facility that rivals any other college in the country,” said Philip Carman, associate dean of the School of Math, Science & Engineering. “They will have the opportunity to get a true lab experience.”

In addition, the renovated building has special features that make it part of CNM’s Campus as a Living Lab initiative. Faculty in CNM’s School of Applied Technologies’ plumbing program were instrumental in the designing of the solar water heater, and the new elevator has a clear shaft that shows the engineering involved in the workings of an elevator. Signage is installed throughout the building indicating its sustainable features for self-guided tours, designating, for example, hydration water stations and lighting controls based on time of day and occupancy. The building was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

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It’s also designed to attract young people to science. An extra learning component, an outside wall, features a solar panel for hot water production. Students will see how the solar panel is functioning through an electronic dashboard. The whole building actively showcases scientific principles in a fun and innovative way to draw students into STEM fields. 

The L Building remains two stories but has a different appearance. It has a modern look and feel designed to complement the nearby JS Building and Student Resource Center. Windows, which were set out five feet, were filled in with laboratory and classroom space, automatically adding 3,000 square feet. Also, the south end of the building was expanded 3,000 square feet and the north expanded 4,000 square feet, increasing the building size from 33,000 square feet to 43,000 square feet.

The renovated facility has five Biology labs (three are for general Biology labs and two are for Anatomy and Physiology), three Chemistry labs and one Astronomy/Physics lab. In addition to the labs, there are three regular-sized classrooms accommodating up to 30 students and two large classrooms, accommodating up to 50 students. One of the Biology labs will also be used for Geography lab classes and Earth and Planetary Science lab classes.

The College and Career High School will also utilize this space for their lab classes.

While approximately 2,000 students will be taking lab classes in the L Building this fall, many others will have lecture classes in the L Building classrooms

“The renovation was needed to increase the number of labs to accommodate our growing enrollment, upgrade the HVAC and update the labs themselves with state-of-the-art equipment,” Carman said.

The old building lacked places for students to congregate and study. Students used to wait for classes in the halls, sitting in chairs – if they could find them. The renovated building has four “agility” spaces where students can meet, study and collaborate.

The agility spaces are decorated with science displays and art work, while the outside is made of glass applied with silkscreen patterns. The images depict science topics.

The second-floor entrance was relocated and now provides entry near the grassy area north of the Student Resource Center. The elevator is also there. The newly renovated building incorporates many eco-friendly and energy-efficiency features designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.