April 21, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- A ceremony to dedicate the fully renovated Wood Hall as a key part of Western Michigan University's major new initiatives in the sciences will be at 2 p.m. Friday, April 24, near the building.
Participants in the ceremony, which is open to the public, will include: Dr. Elise B. Jorgens, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Lori B. Waddles, chairperson of the Board of Trustees; James Baird, design partner with architects Holabird & Root of Chicago; and WMU President Diether H. Haenicke.
The dedication will include tours of the building and demonstrations in an auditorium and three teaching laboratories. The renovation, which cost $12 million, is part of a $44.4 million project to greatly enhance science facilities at the University.
"WMU has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the sciences," Haenicke said. "We are committed to being a leader in applied and basic environmental and health research and in science education, and these new facilities are a critical part of achieving our goals."
WMU recently began a $3 million program to "jump start" research, including research in the sciences, that has significant potential for federal support. The Board of Trustees also recently approved a Ph.D. degree program in environmental chemistry that starts this fall.
Renovation of the 38-year-old building began in August 1995 with the removal of asbestos and later many of its interior walls. Its 150,000 square feet of new space includes 30 teaching laboratories, five classrooms and two auditoria as well as a new entrance with an atrium. In addition, research facilities for biological sciences, geography, geology and psychology are located in the building.
The new Wood Hall will house 110 faculty members in suites designed to foster communication and collaboration as well as workspace for 200 graduate students. Departments in the building will include biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, psychology and science studies.
"The new labs, classrooms and auditoria all will have state-of-the-art computer and multi-media equipment and the latest in instructional design," Haenicke said. "Efforts are currently under way to fund this equipment through grants and private gifts, and so far we have been very successful."
The companion to Wood Hall is the newly named Diether H. Haenicke Hall, the University's new science research pavilion, which is due to be completed in 1999. It is connected to Wood Hall with a covered walkway. Combined with Everett Tower and Rood Hall, the new facilities will constitute a science quadrangle on the west edge of the West Campus.
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