Posted on Jan 25, 2018 in Campus News and News
The newest major addition to the University of Kansas campus connects the department of geology with the School of Engineering, the Central District with the North District, and today’s students with their careers of tomorrow.
The Earth, Energy, & Environment Center, or EEEC, is composed of two new buildings, Slawson Hall and Ritchie Hall. We took a tour of the new buildings to see how a fully integrated building provides new strategies for education. Dr. Robert Goldstein, associate dean for natural sciences and mathematics and special adviser for campus development, led our trip though the new facility.
The tour began in Slawson Hall, with a large atrium at the corner of Hoch Auditoria and Naismith. Visitors are greeted with the sight of a 45-foot-long sea monster—the Tylosaurus fossil replica—a mosasaur that lived where Kansas is today.
“Wherever there’s a little spot, a little niche available, we put in carpet and comfy chairs for students and faculty to use. We want to make sure students hang out and study here.”
“This is the core layout room. We store our samples of rock core from the subsurface here. We use the tables with skate wheels to move boxes of rocks around to study them under white lights and UV lights.”
“This is the engaged learning classroom. 18 80″ monitors, two big screens, whiteboards all the way around. 18 tables, each with their own ELMO video presenter and microphones. It promotes engaged learning where the students are busy working on projects, and the professor’s podium is in the middle of the room, not the end of the room. They’re the coach, just circulating around helping students.”
“Check out the pattern on the side of the building. It’s limestone at the bottom, terra cotta above. We went with different types of terra cotta panels to give it a more dynamic appearance. Rather than a random patchwork of panels, we decided on taking the geologic cross-section of Kansas, right down to Mount Oread, and use that as the inspiration of the patterns by superimposing it on the side of the building.”
“It’s truly interdisciplinary, it’s at that intersection of earth, energy, and environment. We’ve got engineers and scientists under the same roof. We have paleontologists studying particles of organic matter trapped in 3 billion year old rocks, with an environmentalist studying contaminated ground water next door.”
“We just opened, and students are immediately finding these comfortable places… You’ll find faculty members sitting and grading papers here instead of in their offices because it’s so nice.”
“Having a lot of light that comes in helps visibility everywhere. We get natural light both in the hallways, and in the labs and offices. We added transparency, so if you’re standing in the hallway, you can see into the labs and they can see you, and that’s designed to promote interaction. That’s what a modern building can do for you.”