Swanson Science Center

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John A. Swanson Science Center
General information
Type Academic
Location Washington, Pennsylvania
Construction started September 2008[1]
Completed February 2010[1]
Cost $33 million[2]
Technical details
Floor area 47,500 square feet (4,410 m2)[3]
Design and construction
Main contractor Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering[4]

The John A. Swanson Science Center, also known as the Swanson Science Center is an academic building on the campus of Washington & Jefferson College. It was completed in February 2010 and was named after John A. Swanson, an engineer and businessman on the Board of Trustees, who donated $10 million towards its construction. This 47,500 square feet (4,410 m2) facility houses classrooms for Chemistry, Physics, Biophysics and Biochemistry and was designed to match its neighboring historic campus architecture. Its learning facilities include wet and dry teaching laboratories, faculty and student research labs, and a multi-disciplinary lab designed for non-science majors.

The marble-lined grand entrance leads to a three-story atrium with marble pillars and Palladian windows facing Route 40 and the common area is designed to attract non-science students. It was designed to satisfy the LEED Silver qualifications for green buildings.[3]

Facilities[edit]

The Swanson Science Center is a three-story brick building at the intersection of East Maiden and South Lincoln Streets in Washington, Pennsylvania.[4] The 47,500 square feet (4,410 m2) facility, which houses classrooms for Chemistry, Physics, Biophysics and Biochemistry, was designed to match its neighboring historic campus architecture.[3] Its learning facilities include wet and dry teaching laboratories, faculty and student research labs, faculty offices, conference rooms, and a multi-disciplinary lab designed for non-science majors[3][5] The building is capped with a 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) cupola.[6]

The marble-lined grand entrance leads to a three-story atrium with marble pillars and Palladian windows facing Route 40.[1][4] An adjacent common area is designed to attract non-science students.[7] The hallways have built-in cherry benches and marking board-lined walls.[4] Parkhurst Dining Services operates a cafe inside the building.[8]

For safety purposes, the smoke evacuator units are contained within the recessed lights in the ceiling, which could quickly ventilate the building in the event of a fire or chemical leak. The floors are overstabilized to have a zero vibration factor, which is necessary for the laboratory spaces because of the proximity to Route 40.[4] Classroom lighting in based on motion-sensor lighting.[1] The roof contains a 5,000 US gallons (19,000 L) water containment tank to collect rainwater, which is used for the toilets.[2]

Funding, planning, and construction[edit]

Plans for the construction of the Swanson Science Center were announced in May 2007, with an expected completion date in 2010.[9] The building was named after John A. Swanson, an engineer and businessman on the Board of Trustees, who donated $10 million towards its construction.[1] A groundbreaking ceremony for the building, located at the site of the former McIlvaine Hall, was held on September 12, 2008.[10] In 2009, the college applied for $4.5 million tax-exempt educational facilities note from the Washington County Industrial Development Authority[11] The total estimated cost for the construction of the Swanson Science Center was $33 million.[2] Tuition was not increased to pay for the building.[1] During the building's dedication ceremony, members of the college community contributed a variety of items to be placed in a time capsule in the building.[12]

The design and external appearance of the building was designed to match the surrounding campus architecture, including Dieter-Porter Hall and Lazear Hall.[3][5][7] It was also designed to satisfy the LEED Silver qualifications for green buildings.[3] The construction project was managed by the Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering firm.[4] In April 2008, the location of the building had to be shifted several feet towards Maiden Street after three members of the Washington City Council voted to reject an offer from the college to purchase Strawberry Alley, which runs through the campus.[13] The college had offered $102,500 for the alleyway, which had an appraised value of $2,500.[14] Following the vote, the Mayor of Washington indicated that one of the three nay votes had reneged on an agreement to accept the offer.[14] Instead of accepting the offer, the City Council wanted to levy a $100 annual municipal services fee on all students, a proposal that would have been illegal under Pennsylvania law.[14] The fee proposal never came to a vote, and in March 2010, the City Council voted unanimously to vacate Strawberry Alley, allowing the college to assume ownership of it for free.[15]

The site of the Swanson Science Center is home to a historical marker in honor of Rebecca Harding Davis, an influential journalist and author who had attended the Washington Female Seminary, which had been on that site.[16] The effort to place the marker there was led by Washington & Jefferson College English professor, and Harding descendent, Dr. Jennifer Harding.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Ramirez, Chris (May 9, 2010). "Enrollment inspires expansion at Washington & Jefferson". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  2. ^ a b c "$33M science center opens on Washington & Jefferson campus". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. May 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Science Initiative Details". Washington & Jefferson College. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Beveridge, Scott (2010-04-27). "W&J to reveal 'wow' factor of new campus science center at open house". Observer-Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania). Archived from the original on 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  5. ^ a b Trifano, Emily (Spring 2008). "Investing in the Future" (PDF). W&J Magazine. Washington & Jefferson College. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  6. ^ Beveridge, Scott (October 22, 2009). "Cupola tops $33M W&J science center". Observer-Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania). p. B1. 
  7. ^ a b "W&J Receives $10 Million Naming Gift for Construction of New Science Center". College News. The Annapolis Group. May 29, 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  8. ^ "Science Center Cafe". Washington & Jefferson College. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  9. ^ "W&J to build science center". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. May 31, 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  10. ^ "Groundbreaking Ceremony for W&J's John A. Swanson Science Center Set for September 12". Washington & Jefferson College. September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  11. ^ "W&J seeks building funds". Observer-Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania). July 25, 2009. p. B3. 
  12. ^ Hundt, Brad (October 17, 2009). "While W&J College closes its own time capsule". Observer-Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania). p. B1. 
  13. ^ Johnson, Terri T. (April 10, 2008). "City's vote forces W&J into redesign". Observer-Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania). p. B1. 
  14. ^ a b c Baran, Eric (April 17, 2009). "W&J redesigns new science building after vote" (PDF). Red & Black. Washington, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  15. ^ Metz, Linda (March 19, 2010). "City hands over alley to W&J". Observer-Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania). p. A1. 
  16. ^ "Rebecca Harding Davis (1831-1910) - PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  17. ^ Mansfield, Katherine (June 30, 2013). "Descendant secures state marker for Rebecca Harding Davis". Observer-Reporter. Archived from the original on May 30, 2013. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Swanson Science Center at Wikimedia Commons