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Home > SVCPulse > News Archive

Open House Monday at $39 Million Dupré Science Pavilion

Public Relations
Posted: Thursday Mar 7, 2013

March 7, 2013

Area residents are invited to tour the new $39 million Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion at Saint Vincent College from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, March 11.

The Dupre Pavilion is a state-of-the-art educational facility that provides classrooms, laboratories and offices for the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing.

The public open house will include demonstrations of the facility’s digital imaging laboratory, planetarium, environmental education center and greenhouse, scanning electron microscope and other special features. Advance reservations are not required.

The Pavilion is named in recognition of a $7.6 million gift from the family and friends of Mr. and Mrs. Dupré. Mrs. Dupré was a teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and Mr. Dupré is a graduate of the Saint Vincent College Class of 1953 who is renowned for his patents in snow-making and legendary ownership of Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

The Pavilion provides a space where Saint Vincent students and faculty can do science together – to facilitate significant interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary programming and promotes informal interactions between and among the faculty and students.

Visitors will have an opportunity to see the 11 custom-made Swiss cow bells that hang in the atrium that were a gift from the Dupré family – one from Mrs. Dupré, one from Mr. Dupré and one from each of their nine daughters – Denise, Laura, Rosi, Anni, Janeen, Heidi, Gretl, Michele and Reneé. In their ancestral land, the sound of bells signals the safe return of the farmers’ cows from the mountains in the fall and the start of a celebration in the villages.

The Pavilion was completed in December of 2012 after eight years of planning, design and construction. The goal was to continue Saint Vincent College’s long tradition of providing the highest quality educational programs in biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry and pre-professional preparation in the allied health sciences.

The structure was designed by the architects at MacLachlan Cornelius and Filoni, Inc. of Pittsburgh and the laboratories were designed by Research Facilities Design Laboratory Consultants of San Diego. General contractor was Jendoco of Pittsburgh.

The Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion encompasses 60,000 square feet of new construction and 50,000 square feet of renovated space. To allow for expanded hands-on learning opportunities, more than 60% of the space is dedicated to laboratories and laboratory support. Enrollment in the Boyer School has grown by 30 percent in recent years.

The architects, committed to responsible re-use of the existing structures wherever possible, designed the new construction to complement and coordinate with the materials and design in a pleasing architectural plan that, like the rest of the Saint Vincent campus, blends new and old harmoniously.

A curved, three-story glass atrium serves as a window to the natural world and a welcoming gateway into the pavilion, reflecting the Benedictine tradition of hospitality as if it were outstretched arms welcoming all those who approach.

Included in the central core are anatomy/physiology laboratory, digital imaging laboratory, synthetic chemistry laboratory, biochemistry/microbiology laboratory, advanced chemistry laboratory, cell and molecular biology laboratory, cell culture laboratory and an organic chemistry laboratory. Other rooms are dedicated to chemical preparation, laboratory support, equipment and instruments.

Other sections of the pavilion include laboratories for cell genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, astronomy, electronics, anatomy and general biology, chemistry and physics and specialized laboratories for research in biochemistry, physical chemistry, environmental science and other areas.

Windows between the hallways and laboratories provide views of what is taking place inside so that students, visitors, teachers who come for training, and learners of all ages, can observe science in action. Also, corridors are designed with display space for poster sessions or interactive exhibits, allowing Saint Vincent to showcase the research of students and faculty members throughout the year as well as at its annual Academic Conference.

A digital imaging laboratory, made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation, is unique among small colleges and is a model for the region. The laboratory provides students with the experience of working with current, real-world technologies and greatly increases the quantitative literacy of students preparing for graduate or professional school or professional employment. The lab is equipped with 13 networked microscope stations with digital camera and image acquisition and analysis capability, a molecular imager and microtiter reader, and computers and related equipment. Images from individual microscopes can be shared with the entire class via a digital projector and computer software can be used to analyze captured images. The lab is key to Saint Vincent College’s strategy to provide quality educational experiences that keep pace with technological advances in the biological field.

In keeping with the Benedictine tenet of stewardship, or caring for the earth, The Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion incorporates sustainable design. The project was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification through improvements to the quality of the site, reductions in water and energy consumption, use of materials that reduced the impact on the environment and providing a healthy and safe place for faculty members and students to work.

An interesting aspect of the pavilion is the custom-designed geothermal heating and cooling system which provides environmentally comfortable and responsible energy efficiencies. The system utilizes a series of 227 wells in a field 100 yards behind the pavilion to provide natural heating and cooling. The geothermal system is capable of pumping 1,800 gallons per minute and recovering approximately nine million BTU per hour from the earth.

Other aspects of the system add to the savings such as pumps and fans which are able to run at variable speeds depending on need, and an energy recovery system which captures heat from the air that is being exhausted from the building. The building also employs many other energy-saving devices such as occupancy sensors that automatically turn lights on and off, water conserving plumbing fixtures in the restrooms and supplemental solar power panels that generate electricity from sunshine. The extensive use of glass in the atrium provides energy savings by utilizing the sun to provide heat and natural light.

The centerpiece of the glass-walled atrium is a state-of-the-art planetarium – the Angelo J. Taiani Planetarium and Astronaut Exhibit – made possible by a gift from the 1948 graduate and Latrobe native who enjoyed a successful career as an aerospace engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The planetarium projector system was constructed by the Spitz Corporation, a leader in planetarium technology. The planetarium features the latest digital technology that can not only project the nighttime sky but can also take viewers on a tour of the solar system.

The Luparello Lecture Hall was named for Dr. Frank Luparello, C’49, a physician and educator who was responsible for the training and development of thousands of doctors during an illustrious career spanning more than 50 years. It provides a handsome venue for presentations of all kinds with comfortable seating for nearly 100 persons and comprehensive multimedia capabilities.

The Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing (NSMC) builds upon Saint Vincent College's historically strong programs in the natural sciences and health professions and acknowledges the importance of a strong liberal arts education as preparation for lifelong learning.

The Boyer School coordinates the administration and curriculum offerings of biology, chemistry, computing and information science, mathematics, and physics, and provides opportunities for cross-disciplinary interactions among the departments.

In May 2007 Saint Vincent named its School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing after Herb Boyer, a 1958 graduate and Derry native who became the co-founder of Genentech, Incorporated, considered the world’s pioneer in the biotechnology industry. The Boyer School offers undergraduate programs in biochemistry, bioinformatics, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, computing and information science, environmental chemistry, environmental science, mathematics, mathematics/engineering (3/2), and physics. A Master of Science degree in Health Science for Nurse Anesthetists and a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Program are offered in collaboration with Excela Health.

The natural sciences have had a prominent role in the curricula of Saint Vincent College throughout its 166-year history. This emphasis on the sciences is an outgrowth of the Bavarian, Benedictine tradition that bestows a special mission to the scientists who search for the meaning of the physical universe and all life in it. Within this framework, science and mathematics provide a way for Benedictine educational institutions to realize both the academic and spiritual aspects of their missions.

This tradition was embodied at Saint Vincent by the Benedictine educators whose faith, disciplined work, and dedicated teaching enabled the College to develop strong programs and a reputation for quality in the natural sciences and mathematics.

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Photo: The Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion at Saint Vincent College will welcome visitors for an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, March 11. 

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PR2013-133