NASHUA, N.H. — The coronavirus pandemic has put a big damper on the school educations of quite a few learners. However some universities are nonetheless making efforts to enhance the school experiences of their college students.
A type of faculties is Rivier College, which not solely has college students again in school — together with almost 100 from the Lowell and Fitchburg areas — but in addition opened its new Science and Innovation Heart this fall.
Situated on the nook of Clement and South Major Streets in Nashua, N.H., the 36,000 square-foot constructing is basically a $19 million renovation to the college’s previous science constructing that was began in Might 2019 and completed this previous August. The 2-floor constructing incorporates eight lab areas for college students majoring in biology, biotech, nursing, chemistry, physics and environmental science.
Sister Paula Marie Buley, president of the college, mentioned that the brand new middle is triple the dimensions of the unique science constructing and positioned on the previous constructing’s footprint. One of many excellent components of the brand new middle is its technological capacity. The lab lecture rooms include desks with pc displays for college students to observe alongside at their very own tempo, to not point out the advance monitoring and tools within the lab areas. The power additionally has an outside botany lab for college students to take a break from the sterile lecture rooms and gather samples within the recent air.
“All of it goes again to components in our 2020 strategic plan, primarily innovation in sciences, expertise and studying,” Buley mentioned. “We needed the scholars expertise to reflect what they’d meet within the work drive. We actually needed to construct one thing for the long run.”
With the pandemic nonetheless happening, many college students have been relegated to taking programs alone at residence. With that in thoughts, Buley famous that the Science and Innovation Heart is greater than geared up to are likely to the wants of scholars in-person or from residence. Not solely are professors in a position to broadcast classes to college students studying remotely, however the vast dimension of the labs permits college students attending in-person classes to social distance. Buley added that the 125 college students at present attending on campus classes have been following social distancing necessities and carrying masks. Due to these efforts, Buley mentioned that Rivier hasn’t had anybody check optimistic for coronavirus in 4 weeks.
“I believe the scholars are very appreciative to be again by way of flexibility and social distancing,” she added. “We’ve obtained six weeks to go within the present semester and to date, so good.”
“It’s been a really totally different yr to date, however I’m very pleased with everybody for getting this far,” Maegan Sheehy, a junior, mentioned.
“The academics are adapting to this like we’re,” Katerina St. Angelo, one other junior, added whereas coming into the middle. “After I noticed the brand new constructing for the primary time, I cried. The expertise right here is basically exceptional.”
The middle’s new video options make it accessible for college students and employees. In the course of the day, for example, two lecture rooms are used to accommodate one lesson with college students spaced out between lab desks whereas the school member main the lesson makes use of telecommunication to speak between rooms.
There’s additionally the video wall within the middle’s primary foyer, a six-by-11 foot touch-screen with varied info about biology and science popping in-and-out for college students to have interaction with.
“Our underlying philosophy right here is science on show,” Buley mentioned. “We wish to give college students the prospect to come back in and love this constructing and see that that is one thing to embrace. This isn’t window dressing, that is actual engagement.”
Rivier might be internet hosting an official dedication ceremony for the brand new constructing on Friday, Oct. 30, at 10 a.m. Buley hopes that this improved facility will additional present Rivier as “a beacon for greater training” and open its doorways for extra community-based applications.
“Nashua is doing remarkably effectively in life sciences and biotech and community safety,” she added. “We wish to welcome different residents, highschool employees and others to indicate us as contributors to the Nashua Area.”