Imagine a building that has a 32-foot-high “green wall” full of plants and a “dashboard” that monitors all the electricity, water and natural gas consumed – a building that teaches students rather than students being taught in it.
This is the Rogers Science and Health Building now under construction at Queens. It will be the first science building on the East Coast to earn a LEED Platinum designation, a coveted energy-efficiency rating standing for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, according to Dr. Reed Perkins, chair of theEnvironmental Science Department..
The original completion date for the project was July 9, but the date has been pushed back due to rain and bad weather in October. It is unclear whether the building will be done in the fall, Dr. Perkins says.
The building is partially funded by and named in honor of Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers and his wife, Mary Anne Rogers, a member of the Queens Board of Trustees. It will also house the main administrative offices and laboratories of the Presbyterian School of Nursing in the Blair College of Health.
“There will be 24 labs in the new building, whereas the Walker Science building only has about 10,” says Dr. Perkins.
Some of the 24 labs will be “set aside for students’ independent research, allowing students to conduct independent research projects as part of their degree programs,” Dr. Perkins says. The labs also will be outfitted with “newer equipment for both students and professors to use.”
Walker Science, built in the mid 1960s, has about 26,000 square feet, compared to 56,000 for the Rogers building. Walker will be renovated for use by other programs at Queens.
The Rogers’ building’s green wall will be covered with non-invasive species of plants, covering half of one end of the building. “It can be used as a teaching feature to study plants and their growth,” Dr. Perkins says.
The wall also provides much more than a teaching tool, also promoting energy efficiency. “The south end of the building will receive the most sunlight. The sun’s energy will go toward photosynthesis and be used to heat the building rather than a heating unit heating the building.” Dr. Perkins describes the building as “early 20thcentury on the outside and 21st century on the inside.”
The inside also will include artworks. A sculpture will hang from the sky-lit dome in the roof of the building, extending down into the second floor.
There is also a sculpture that will stand between the building and Belk Chapel. “The sculpture will celebrate both discoveries of faith and discoveries of science,” Dr. Perkins says. A mural inside the Rogers building will depict “exploring the journey of science across human history,” Dr. Perkins says.
It will be open to non-science majors as well. “There will be classrooms available for all subjects in the building,” says Dr. Perkins. All students who enter Queens as a freshman have to take a science course as a part of their general education requirements.
Although the Rogers Science building is not the only step Queens need to make toward going green, Dr. Perkins says, “it is a large step in that direction.”