October 17, 2014
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Dedication of $60 Million Science Center at SUNY Fredonia

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Dedication of $60...

Facility Will Serve Hundreds Of Science Students and Attract Future Advanced Students to the Campus

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the official opening of the new state-of-the-art Science Center at SUNY Fredonia. The three-story, 92,000 square foot Science Center was dedicated with a unique ceremony that included the “splicing” of a giant, double helix DNA model. The much-anticipated new facility serves nearly 500 students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Environmental Science, Molecular Genetics, Medical Technology, Exercise Science and Science Education — and has the capacity to accommodate significant growth. Photographs of the new facility can be found here.

“This new Science Center will be a tremendous asset for SUNY Fredonia,” Governor Cuomo said. “By offering unparalleled research and learning opportunities to current students, as well as attracting future students interested in a variety of challenging disciplines, this facility will help Fredonia continue to grow as a leading public university and allow our brightest young minds to thrive. I am excited to see this facility officially opened, and I encourage all who utilize it to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge.”

SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath said, “From the start, this building was designed to align with the ways science works now, and the best ways students can learn science. We had a clear sense of what Fredonia needed to support science learning. The building’s inviting design encourages people to look into labs and see students and faculty engaged in discovery, and to interact with one another as part of the learning environment.”

One key feature is the Kelly Family Auditorium, designed for maximum flexibility in learning environments. It allows for an immediate shift from larger lecture and demonstration scenarios to small-group, collaborative learning, by allowing students to pivot in their chairs and work at larger tables as opposed to individual, fold-up desktops. The Science Center also boasts inviting public spaces, a courtyard where the paving is laid out to resemble geologic strata that reach out to the Science Quad, a garden and $4 million in new equipment and instrumentation.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Holly Lawson, who also served as project shepherd, said, “Similarly, the teaching and research labs were deliberately designed to meet the needs of the current users, yet remain flexible for future use. All of the teaching labs have infrastructure to allow those rooms to be used as lecture, seminar or group work spaces.”

Other features of the building include:

  •  Flexible spaces that allow students to move seamlessly from lectures to hands-on learning; 
  •  An auditorium that encourages student-to-student interaction and applied learning; 
  •  The mixing of programs from Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Molecular Genetics, Medical Technology, Environmental    Science, Exercise Science and Science Education in the same building to encourage interdisciplinary research and teaching;  and 
  •  Plenty of social learning spaces, such as a café and study alcoves, to spark creative collaboration.


The $60 million project generated a daily average of 70 tradesmen construction jobs over the last three years, with 104 employed at its peak. It was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, a New York City-based firm with a world-wide reputation for excellence in the creation of academic and scientific research facilities.

Many sustainable elements have been incorporated into the complex, which is pursuing LEED silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. These include green roofs and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems; a unique storm water run-off system that prevents soil erosion and flooding; and an energy- and water-efficient greenhouse.

Since construction began in 2011, Fredonia has seen large jumps in the numbers of applications, acceptances and enrolled students in all of its natural sciences departments. Enrollments in particular have increased between 34 and 150 percent across multiple programs.

About the State University of New York at Fredonia
The State University of New York at Fredonia is a comprehensive, public, liberal arts university in Western New York that offers bachelor's and master's degree and advanced certificate programs. The university’s history began as the Fredonia Academy, established in 1826 by the citizens of the village of Fredonia. Today, the university, with its colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Education, and Visual and Performing Arts, and schools of Music and Business, has over 5,000 students in nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate programs. Fredonia educates, challenges, and inspires students to become skilled, connected, creative, and responsible global citizens and professionals. The university enriches the world through scholarship, artistic expression, community engagement, and entrepreneurship.

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