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FSU builds mecca for interdisciplinary research

September 2008

By Avery Hill
Florida State Times

The Florida State Times

State-of-the-art. Cutting-edge. High-tech.

With the goal of expanding its scope and influence as one of the nation's top research universities, those are not just idle buzzwords around Florida State University. They are part of the blueprint for the university's research and instructional future, and today they have taken shape in FSU's new science Quadrangle.

With more than $700 million in construction related to the university's medical, psychology, chemistry and life sciences programs, FSU's Pathways of Excellence initiative boasts an unparalleled level of investment in interdisciplinary research infrastructure. Indeed, in a matter of a few short years, FSU has emerged as a leader in U.S. higher education in the construction of brand-new facilities to house hard sciences. And, despite severe economic challenges, "We are certainly on track with our five-year (construction) goals," according to FSU President T.K. Wetherell.

Located along West stadium Drive and Call Street, the newly completed Science Quad, a concentration of scientific teaching and research facilities, is home to the College of Medecine (2), the psychology building (3), the Life Sciences Teaching and Research Building (1) and the Chemical Sciences Laboratory.

The medical research building, the College of medecine's most recent addition, opened in March 2006, completing FSU's 300,000-square-foot medical-school complex. The newest medical building is adorned with three vibrant terrazzo outdoor murals depicting medical legends Hippocrates, the father of clinical medecine; Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female medical graduate in modern times; and John Gorrie, the yellow-fever-battling physician who invented the precursor to the contemporary air conditioner. A solo sycamore is planted in the school's front lawn, an herbal homage to Hippocrates, who according to legend, taught while seated under such a tree.The Departmen of Psychology in June completed the construction of 12 neuroscience laboratories and research support facilities, nine additional clinical and cognitive labs, and a psychology clinic - 56,000 square feet of space that will be used by the Florida Center for Reading Research. In August 2006, the department took occupancy of nearly 47,000 square feet of the new building, which features a 220-seat auditorium; 28 research labs for members of the clinical, social, cognitive and developmental research programs; "smart" classrooms; and administrative and student advising offices.

Completed this past spring, the new Life sciences teaching and Research Building is a state-of-the-art facility with more than 95,000 square feet of space for instruction, research and support services.

Rooftop research greenhouses and an open ground-floor courtyard for students, faculty and staff top its design features. The $55 million facility includes a 150-seat auditorium, biology teaching laboratories, and more than 30 research laboratories for FSU's Department of Biological Science.

Opened in May with dozens of chemistry faculty members on hand, the new five-story, 168,000-square-foot chemistry building represents a bold new era for the university's science community.

The $72 million building now houses some 250 researchers and is home to prtions of the university's department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. It will provide more than 90,000 square feet of space for instruction, research and support services.

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