MALTA – Tania Nezrick is loving her new lab.
The Kishwaukee College biology instructor is now teaching an introductory microbiology class in a new laboratory classroom equipped with several incubators, molecular equipment and a biocontainment hood for studying wild organisms. No longer is there little room for students and faculty to work in.
“There’s a broad range of experiments we can do here,” she said.
Besides more storage space and new equipment, Nezrick’s classroom has more windows, unlike the previous lab which was “almost like a cave” to one of her students, Emily Bunton.
The classroom is one of many belonging to the newly remodeled “science wing” at Kishwaukee College. The wing, which cost about $13 million to build, contains 11 general classrooms, 10 science labs, 18 faculty offices and the college’s art gallery. Students and faculty have been using the classrooms since the beginning of the school year.
On Wednesday, college officials celebrated the official opening of the science wing. The new space will expand and transform the college’s course offerings, said Steven Squier, dean of the math, science and business division for the college.
“With the opening of the science wing, the number of biology labs is now doubled and that allows the biology program to offer additional courses during those high-demand days and times for the convenience of our students,” he said.
Construction for the wing started in December and finished before the school year began, said Robert Galick, the college’s vice president of finance and administration. Galick coordinated the wing’s construction.
“The spirit of the science wing was to improve the science labs, which were very outdated,” he said.
Not only were the labs updated, but so was the college’s art gallery and human resources office.
Galick said the art gallery was moved to the new wing so it could complement the library nearby. The human resources office was put in the wing so it would be near an exterior doorway providing easier access for people who visit the office.
Kishwaukee College President Thomas Choice said the wing would also be the home of the Adult Education and Transition Programs.
Staff and faculty with the program offer assistance and support for adult students as they return to school through GED and family literacy programs, among others, he said.
“The AETP division has dedicated classroom space, testing rooms, a child care room and finally enough storage space to complement all the incredibly important work they do for our community,” he said.
A new device to inspect fingerprints is one of the many new tools Kishwaukee College instructor David Dammon uses in criminal justice classes. Dammon said with the new forensics lab, it’s easier to set up equipment for himself and his students. The lab has new computers and offers more opportunities for students to study staged crime scenes in detail.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Dammon said about the new wing. “It’s good for the college and the community.”