Science & Technology Merge in Sciences Labratory Building

The Sciences Laboratory Building (SLB) has been in production for thirteen years, and the completed project turns out to be well worth the wait. The new structure features cutting-edge technology and the largest lecture hall on campus, as well as the UC system's first building completely dedicated to undergraduate laboratory instruction in biology and chemistry. But the Sciences Laboratory Building offers more than just new labs.

Catering to the Sciences
The Sciences Laboratory Building was created "to update and modernize laboratory teaching facilities for biology and chemistry," according to Tom Rost, Professor of Plant Biology and Chair of the Sciences Laboratory Building Committee. Situated on Hutchison Drive, the building is home to the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity and Herbarium and the laboratory teaching programs for more than half a dozen science departments.

Each of the new structure's 34 teaching labs is configured to operate media technology-features not typically present in other campus science labs.

The Sciences Laboratory Building also has a fully automated, computer-controlled greenhouse. Located on the third floor, the greenhouse is used for instruction by the Section of Plant Biology in the Division of Biological Sciences. A central computer controls the temperature, watering, and shading systems, and alerts greenhouse staff in the event that problems arise. Once the system is fully operational, staff members will be able to monitor and change greenhouse settings remotely from any location. Passersby can get a glimpse of greenhouse greenery from the third-floor hallway.

Some of the most remarkable technology in the Sciences Laboratory Building, however, remains hidden from view. Lighting, for example, is automatically controlled to save energy while providing efficient light to lab benches. Features include motion detectors and the ability to turn lights off where daylight is available. In power outages emergen cy power automatically provides minimal lighting and keeps critical building and laboratory services functional.

The buildings automated fire detection system has 250+ alarms and visual strobes to alert occupants while at the same time sending a message directly to the UC Davis Fire Department. What's more, the building's mechanical systems automatically go into prevention mode to help stop the spread of smoke.

Something For Everyone
Not every part of the SLB is geared toward those interested in the sciences. The building's wireless lounges and discussion rooms, for example, are set up so that you can surf the Web with your laptop. And beginning Spring 2005, Bio Brew, SLB's in-house coffee shop, will vend snacks and caffeine for hungry and sleep-deprived visitors.

The opening of the SLB also marks an addition to the campus computer rooms. One computer classroom will be open to students, faculty, and staff when classes are not in session, and a second computer laboratory--to be completed next year--will specialize in bioinformatics.

The Biggest Lecture Hall on Campus - Sciences Lecture Hall 123
The new lecture hall is located adjacent to the SLB. Not merely the largest UC Davis lecture hall, the lab also features the finest in technology. The 517-seat hall boasts the highest-definition (DVI) data projector on campus, projecting images with greater clarity and detail than any other campus projector. And the hall is home to three video screens, so the system could be expanded in the future to allow simultaneous display of up to three different videos or images. "An instructor could eventually display an overhead transparency, a Web site, and a PowerPoint presentation from her laptop all at the same time," explains Tom Rost. The lecture hall also features remarkable acoustics; students in the last row of the lecture hall can hear a professor clearly even if the professor is not using a microphone!

Although currently u sed only for classes, there is a possibility that in the future the hall could be reserved for non-class use. Rick Sprunger, who oversees the Classroom Technology Team, proudly proclaims that "this lecture hall showcases the campus' best technological abilities."