Sciences and Math Blossom

October 3, 2012 | Salute to Scholars, The University

A new home for the Science, Health and Technology School provides much-needed teaching space, research labs

Medgar Evers College is attracting more students than ever who are interested in studying the core sciences and mathematics. The college’s new state-of-the-art building, which houses the School of Science, Health and Technology might have played a role, according to the school’s dean and professor of biology, Mohsin Patwary.  There has been a 42 percent increase in the number of students studying the core sciences and mathematics since 2004.

The youngest of CUNY’s four-year senior colleges, Medgar Evers was established in in 1969 with a commitment to provide access to higher education to the underserved population in central Brooklyn. A year after the college was established it opened, named for the martyred civil rights leader Medgar Wiley Evers (1925-1963). Today, many of the students who attend the college are from surrounding communities like Crown Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant and Flatbush.

The new building, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, is a welcome addition to the college, which has also seen an increase in enrollment. Along with the flood of student interest came an acute space deficit, so the new, additional space will provide much-needed relief, explained Dean Patwary. Opened in the fall of 2010, Academic Building I houses the School of Science, Health and Technology, and provides five floors of high-tech classrooms, science labs, computer labs and faculty offices. At a cost of $247 million, the 195,000-square-foot structure triples the space previously used by the school.

While the school, which has five departments including nursing, computer science and biology, enjoys the lion share of enrollment — 42 percent of the over 2,900 students enrolled at the college are at the school — Medgar Evers College offers baccalaureate and associate degrees in 21 majors and programs in other areas, such as business administration and early-childhood education.

The new building, outfitted with multimillion dollar cutting-edge teaching and research equipment, features faculty research labs including facilities in the areas of cellular-molecular biology and chemical analysis. It also has aquariums, an animal room and plant growth chambers. Other amenities include two dining areas: the Skylight Cafe, a floor-to-ceiling glass pavilion that seats 264, and a faculty dining room; a multipurpose room for lectures, concerts and social functions; and an art gallery.

Designed by architect Todd Schliemann of Ennead Architects LLP, the brick-and-glass structure has caught the attention of architectural community. It was the recipient of the 2012 Building Brooklyn Award from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the Excellence in Architecture from the Society of College and University Planning in 2011.