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science lab

Blow Off Steam and Study Hard with TU’s New Center for Science & Technology

Tiffin University is excited to welcome its newest building to campus, TU’s Center for Science and Technology. In addition to housing the offices of faculty members in its namesake fields, this 18,100 square-foot facility also hosts many classes for arts and mathematics majors. Many members of the community are already affectionately using the acronym STEAM when referring to the Center.

The STEAM building was designed to connect the pre-existing Hertzer Technology Center and TU’s laboratory classrooms to allow students in these disciplines to access all resources needed for their success in one place. It was the hope of those closely involved with the Center’s construction that its efficient design and great size will provide students with ample space to pursue their studies. The Center was built with room to grow, boasting plenty of space to accommodate the very uptick in student enrollment its presence is sure to prompt. According to Michael Herdlick, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement and one of the people at the forefront of the initial project, the Center will advance TU’s newer academic disciplines.

“TU is already known to have outstanding business and criminal justice programs, which is great, but this new building will help elevate several other fields to that same level of prestige, attracting both students and faculty with an affinity for science and mathematics. This new demographic of Dragons will do a lot to further Tiffin’s reputation as a well-rounded institution, committed to excellence no matter the major.”

The first floor of the new building sports the Jeanne and Larry Adelsperger Exercise Science Lab, a state-of-the-art facility with the capability of splitting into three separate examination rooms via curtain dividers. The Lab is also equipped with soundproofing technology and kinesiology equipment. The first floor also sports two multi-purpose classrooms, the Meshech Frost Charitable Foundation outdoor patio area as well as the stunning Mercy Health Atrium, an extensive student lounge.

Faculty offices are split between the first and second floors, with fourteen in total. Each space will feature ample glass paneling to allow natural light to penetrate the spaces. This open concept, where students can see directly inside each office is intended to make them feel invited in rather than shut out, fostering an environment of comfort and accessibility.

The second floor features three expansive chemistry labs, each with adjoining storage facilities and cutting-edge equipment, such as a brand new autoclave for sterilizing medical instruments and a new glovebox for the safe handling of hazardous materials. Each laboratory can accommodate twenty-four students at once and each lab table comes equipped with charging ports, outlets and compressed air and gas valves. Each space also has a chemical shower, eye washing station, an icemaker and dishwasher. One of these labs also sports two fume hoods, or ventilated safety enclosures wherein noxious fumes can be safely contained. A whole-building vacuum system runs throughout, safely dispersing any additional fumes created by these labs. Students enrolled in our STEAM programs also have access to several pieces of cutting-edge technology in the building, such as the gas chromatography – mass spectrometry machine, the same device used in airport security to detect dangerous items or substances. The Center also has a DNA sequential analyzer and a bod pod, to analyze the impact of physical activity on the human body, at its disposal.

TU is particularly proud of one piece of scientific equipment in the Center. The anatomage table, also known as a virtual autopsy machine, lets students learn digitally about the inner workings of the human body. TU is one of the few schools in the nation to have access to such a machine and is the only academic institution that allows its undergraduate students full, supervised access to it, a privilege normally reserved for graduate students and faculty. The device looks much like a traditional autopsy table, featuring a six-foot slab atop a stand. The main difference is that its surface is actually a touchscreen computer with pre-downloaded images of real human bodies. Students are able to interact with the onscreen depictions and perform all imaginable surgical tasks. They can also examine each corpse down to the cellular level, and choose from several pre-downloaded likenesses of real people who donated their bodies to post-mortem scientific study. The table gets much use from our students, as it is handy to those studying criminal justice, chemistry, exercise science, health and wellness, neuroscience, biology, forensics, and several other areas. This is especially important to note, says Joyce Hall-Yates, J.D., TU’s Vice Provost and Dean of the School of Arts & Science. “No two bodies are alike. One corpse I know we will have access to passed from a headshot wound. This means the device will not only be useful to students studying Biology and related fields, but to those in our criminal justice department, studying ballistics. The possibilities for this technology are endless” she said.

Since its conception, the Center was envisioned to be a place where essential academic practices could be carried out in a comfortable place. To Michael, this is one thing that differentiates the new Center from other buildings of its kind. He said, “Not many universities have ‘pretty’ science buildings. You don’t expect these places to have brick exteriors or floor-to-ceiling windows. You walk into any university lab building, and it’s all sterile, white-walled and uninspired. We wanted to change that. We wanted students to feel at home.”

“Pretty” is certainly an appropriate way to describe the new building – From the exposed brick paneling throughout the first story to Edison-inspired light fixtures adorning the Atrium, it is definitely something to behold. The TU community is immensely proud to now offer its students these many new, enriching resources within such a picturesque setting.