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Vol 56 No. 11 | Sept. 2004
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CSU Long Beach Dedicates Its New
Molecular and Life Sciences Center

By Rick Gloady

CeremonyMore than 250 people were on hand Friday, Sept. 10, to celebrate the dedication and official opening of the Molecular and Life Sciences Center (MLSC) at CSULB, the campus' first new science building in 40 years.

Built at a cost of some $31.5 million, the 88,000-square-foot, three-story building is serving faculty, staff and students in the areas of chemistry, biochemistry and biology. Funded by the passage of Proposition 1A in 1998, the building includes 24 group research laboratories, 20 instructional labs and 46 faculty offices.

"This new building supports all of the goals and missions we have in our college," said Laura Kingsford, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, who presided over the dedication. "What we have now is a first-rate physical facility with state-of-the-art equipment where an outstanding and dedicated faculty can work side by side with our students to prepare them for even better futures and careers in science."

Kingsford introduced several guest speakers at the event, including CSULB President Robert C. Maxson, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill and CSULB graduate J. Mario Molina, M.D., president of Molina Healthcare, Inc., a company founded in 1980 to address the special needs of low-income patients.

SpeakersAll of the speakers touched on the importance of undergraduate students having an opportunity to participate in hands-on research with faculty. They also noted the success that CSULB students have had in going on to further their education as a result of those research opportunities and how this new facility will enhance students' future success. In fact, a National Science Foundation study ranked CSULB first in the nation among master's degree-granting institutions in the number of baccalaureate degree recipients who earned doctorates in the sciences and mathematics.

" I was really interested in doing research, and I was fortunate because at this university, it was easy to do," Molina recalled of his undergraduate days. "(The campus) didn't have Ph.D. students, and it didn't have post-doctoral fellows. So, if faculty were going to do research, they had to involve undergraduate students. It was a great opportunity for me to work in a laboratory, and I always found that I learned more working in the research laboratory than I did in the classroom laboratories.

" The facilities that these students are going to have are state-of-the-art, and that's really important," he added. "In the sciences, it is crucial because you can't do the work or learn the things you need to learn if you don't have the equipment. "

AC Martin Partners, Inc. provided architectural design, structural and electrical engineering services for the center. AHSC McLellan Copenhagen was the laboratory planner, and P2S provided mechanical engineering services. Even before it was built, the MLSC was an award winner, receiving the 1999 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects.

To provide the safest building possible for use with laboratory chemicals, specialty control systems assure the occupants' safety while minimizing the wasteful exhaust practices of older buildings. The center includes 114 fume hoods, four autoclaves, three cold rooms and state-of-the-art electronic laboratory control systems and building control systems.

Reed was especially thoughtful on what the new facilities mean to future CSULB students and science.

" I am proud because this building will be preparing scientists for this new century," he said. "I can't wait to hear the stories from faculty members and from undergraduate students who are doing research with their faculty members who are going to go to medical school, go get their Ph.D.s and one day solve some of the biggest mysteries that we have in science to improve our health, to improve our environment and to improve our quality of life."

Maxson and Kingsford both pointed out that the MLSC is the first of two new buildings that will make up a science complex at CSULB. The second structure will be about 50 percent larger, and, according to officials, is expected to be completed in about five years.

Aerial ViewBefore the dedication of the MLSC, campus officials held another dedication in honor of Glenn M. Nagel, the previous dean for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics who died of cancer in May 2003. Nagel was instrumental in the planning and design of the new science building, something he envisioned when he first arrived on campus in 1996, but he didn't live to see the finished product. As a result of his dedication and efforts, the courtyard that serves as the entrance to the MLSC will be known as the Glenn M. Nagel Courtyard.

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