Nov. 16, 2017
An exciting new chapter in the history of science education at Saint Vincent College began today with the formal opening and dedication of the $5.8 million James F. Will Engineering and Biomedical Sciences Hall.
The two-story, 11,260-square foot structure is located on the northwest side of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion and will provide state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories for human anatomy teaching in the biomedical sciences and dedicated space for the college’s growing engineering program.
Speakers at the dedication ceremony included Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president; James F. Will, president emeritus; Ralph H. Liberatore, owner of Three Rivers Orthopedic and Spine Inc.; Dr. Stephen M. Jodis, dean of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing; and Rt. Rev. Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., archabbot and chancellor.
The facility is an attractive extension of the pavilion and continues the same distinctive architectural style through the use of brick veneer, cast stone banding, window detailing and a contemporary sloped metal roof.
“Building on its historically strong academic programs in the natural sciences, Saint Vincent is targeting the academic fields of biomedical sciences and engineering for future growth and opportunity,” Br. Norman explained. “The initiation of an engineering science degree program and the development of an integrated science major with an allied health concentration are enhancing our academic excellence while meeting the changing needs of students and of society.”
The internationally recognized scientific innovators Herbert W. Boyer and Herman Dupré are graduates of Saint Vincent College. Saint Vincent is honored to carry forward the legacy of their scientific accomplishments through the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing and the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion. Affiliation with these scientific pioneers, combined with the teaching excellence of legendary Benedictine faculty such as the late Fr. Joel Lieb, O.S.B., Fr. Owen Roth, O.S.B., Fr. Edward Wenstrup, O.S.B., Fr. Maximilian Duman, O.S.B., and others, has significantly elevated the national profile of Saint Vincent and its status as a premier college of the liberal arts and sciences. Contemporary Benedictine faculty members such as Fr. Shawn Anderson, O.S.B., Br. Albert Gahr, O.S.B., and Fr. Michael Antonacci, O.S.B., will carry that legacy forward.
The new building features two large laboratories (32’ x 38.5’), one on each floor – the Liberatore Human Anatomy Laboratory with six operating stations on the first floor and an Engineering Design Laboratory on the second floor.
Other features on the first floor include the Vittone Student/Faculty Research Laboratory, the Vu-Nguyen Senior Projects Laboratory, a sterilization and prep room with walk-in cooler, two faculty offices, lab manager’s office, scrub room, two locker rooms, two restrooms and a lounge area.
Engineering facilities on the second floor include The Stephans Computer Modeling Laboratory, Kennametal Foundation Conference Room and Library, interdisciplinary classroom, three faculty offices, two restrooms and the “Yodel Lounge.”
“The human anatomy laboratory is not something you are going to find at other small colleges and universities,” commented Dr. Stephen Jodis, dean of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing. “It is unique in its availability to undergraduate students. And the anticipated weekend utilization of the laboratories by medical equipment firms for the training of doctors and surgeons will provide a highly-valued opportunity for students to work alongside these professionals to learn and network with them. This will most definitely enhance the academic experience and the preparatory training of our students who are planning to enter the medical fields.”
“When the Dupré Pavilion was completed, we had not yet initiated our engineering science major,” Jodis added, “so we now have much-needed space that is designed for that program which requires a lot of open areas for large student projects. The engineering students will also be using modeling software in a 13-seat computer modeling laboratory that is outfitted for a wide variety of calculations and simulations.”
The human anatomy laboratory provides cutting-edge, high-tech facilities for anatomical research. The ultramodern laboratory is designed as a flexible space that can accommodate up to six surgical stations in a simulated operating room environment. The lab features advanced audio and video capabilities, including a teaching station equipped with cameras and monitors to enhance instruction.
Support facilities for the human anatomy laboratory include a technologically-equipped conference room, a lab preparation space, a refrigerated storage area and spacious locker and changing rooms.
In addition to providing education and research opportunities for the college’s undergraduate programs, the human anatomy laboratory also will provide critical resources to fulfill the contemporary training needs of the health professions and medical device suppliers. Undergraduate students enrolled at Saint Vincent will have the opportunity to work as laboratory assistants in this new endeavor.
Krista Jobe, a 2007 Saint Vincent College biology graduate who is also a graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, has joined the staff as human anatomy laboratory manager with responsibilities for coordinating the day-to-day activities of the anatomy lab and the senior research labs. She recently returned to the U.S. after a two-year assignment with the Peace Corps in China.
“It is critical to provide undergraduate students experience with human cadavers before they get to medical school,” Jobe noted. “Having actual experience is really important since it provides a better opportunity to make decisions about future study.”
Students in the new Human Anatomy and Physiology lab course will utilize this space beginning in the spring semester. Jobe noted that she also expects the laboratory to have computerized robots on-site as needed for the training of surgeons for knee replacement and similar operations.
“Students will be able to watch these operations via video in the classroom within the new building. Saint Vincent will cooperate with a number of tissue banks across the country to obtain both full cadavers and other human tissue specimens. This is a huge benefit to our students since there is a lot we can teach them both about the work itself as well as the Benedictine value of respect for the human body,” Jobe said.
For Dr. Michael Rhodes, associate professor of biology, who teaches Comparative Anatomy, there is excitement that his teaching will be greatly enhanced with the presence of human cadavers. “The teaching opportunity is awesome,” he commented. “For the first time, we will have the opportunity to study human tissues in addition to our animal specimens. It will be very beneficial when these students get to medical school.”
“Our human cadaver lab is destined to be unique,” Rhodes continued, “because Saint Vincent has a campus culture and mission that are unique. Because of our core values as a Catholic, Benedictine college, we will have the highest respect and reserve careful stewardship for the human remains we use for teaching.”
“We are going to be together as a team,” declared Dr. Paul Follansbee, James F. Will Professor of Engineering Science. “While the Saint Vincent 3/2 engineering program has been successful for many years, we started our engineering science program just four years ago. It has far surpassed our projections and we now have a total of 85 engineering majors – 35 in the 3/2 program and 50 in the engineering science major. I project an enrollment of more than 100 within a few years after engineering accreditation is completed. The programs are growing because they combine technical study with a liberal arts education, an advantage the students understand. Now, students and faculty will be together in a departmental home, a place with a bulletin board for announcements and accomplishments highlighted!”
Follansbee noted that there are three engineering laboratory courses in the Engineering Science curriculum. The new building gives a home for the materials lab, an engineering design lab and an open space lab where students can work on their projects. Students will also have access to equipment for research such as microscopes, a furnace, hardness tester, two 3-D printers and plenty of space for more to come. An electronics circuits laboratory will stay in the physics area of the adjoining building.
“The growing engineering program will have an identifiable location with a library collection and a computer area,” Follansbee advised. “Our program is already well known and well respected by graduate engineering schools. I am honored to be the James F. Will Professor of Engineering Science and doubly honored to work in a building named in his honor. As a former corporate leader and as the former president of Saint Vincent, he has done so much for the region and for the students of Saint Vincent.”
Major private donors to the building include James F. Will, Ralph Liberatore and the Allegheny Foundation.
This new structure is part of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion and builds upon the environmental sustainability standards of that LEED Gold structure. It will share a geothermal heating and cooling system and LED lighting within an energy-efficient building environment.
“The flexibility that was designed into this new building is its most important characteristic,” concluded Dr. Caryl L. Fish, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the interdisciplinary science. “It will enable us to incorporate whatever new technology makes possible.”
“The human anatomy lab gives our students the opportunity to study human organs and other tissues in their research. This is priceless – something they have never been able to do before. It also gives our students an opportunity to interact with doctors, surgeons and other professionals in training. This spacious facility and its instruments are very impressive and very exciting.”
General architect for the project was MacLachlan, Cornelius and Filoni of Pittsburgh, general contractor was Jendoco and engineering consultant was H.F. Lenz Co.
Photo: James F. Will Engineering and Biomedical Sciences Hall
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