Spring semester is in full swing and the long awaited Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion is open to all of Augsburg’s students, staff and faculty. Although the entire Augsburg community benefits from this magnificent and modern building, STEM students, especially in the natural sciences, seem to be the most thrilled.
I’m in my third year at Augsburg, and I’ve taken classes in just about all the STEM fields here (biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics etc.). I also have been involved with research projects in the biology department ever since the summer after my first year. So, before the Hagfors Center was finished and open to students, I had to spend most of my time in the old science building. The old building worked fine, but spaces were cramped, temperature control lacked and the age of the building really showed.
Now we have the Hagfors Center! One of the first things I noticed was the sheer size of the building. The departments featured in the Hagfors Center now have more space and modernized classrooms and laboratories. In addition to the larger classrooms and labs, there are designated study areas on every floor and a new coffee shop on the second floor that allows students to meet, create and collaborate. Many of these study spaces also have large whiteboards and are close to professors’ offices. This is very helpful when doing group work or when solving problems. All the classrooms have been designed to be more open. The large windows of the building let in ample natural light, and some of the classrooms even have a glass wall.
All of this is great. However, as a biology student and researcher for the department, I think the best part of the new building are the new laboratories. Just by talking with various professors, I know that lots of planning went into making sure the labs were designed to fit the classes and researchers who would use them. An added perk to the labs are the prep rooms. In the old building, there wasn’t much prep space, making it difficult for professors to set up, clean up and prepare for labs. Now there are multiple prep spaces on each floor. Labs for intro classes are also much more spacious and have multiple screens, so they can better accommodate for larger classes.
The teaching spaces are excellent, but labs for research are greatly improved in the Hagfors Center. What’s nice about the research spaces is that they are designed specifically for the projects that are taking place in them. So as a researcher, you can feel like your lab was designed just for you.
Although much of the equipment from the old science building was moved into the new labs, new equipment was also purchased for the new building. This means that there are shorter lines for equipment that multiple people need to use. There are also more labs, so each research group has their own space and doesn’t need to share spaces with people working on vastly different projects. Although students and faculty are still getting used to the new spaces, it is clear that the Hagfors Center will allow Augsburg to grow and improve current students’ learning experiences.
This article first appeared in the Friday, January 19, 2018, Edition of The Echo.