Gelb Science Center Opens

Six years and $28 million since planning for its construction began, the Gelb Science Center welcomed students and faculty to a new era in science education this week. With a view over the Phillips Academy campus, the science center is situated next to Evans, and across from Paul Revere dormitory. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology that will allow teachers to display information from the Internet as well as CD’s and DVD’s. Students can also access the Internet during class by connecting their laptops to ports located on every desk. Teachers can use programs which diagram 3-D objects that can be rotated and examined for a better look. “In chemistry, physics, and biology, something that might take 10 minutes of a teacher’s explaining can be shown in 30 seconds on a screen,” David Stern, instructor in Chemistry, said. “Animations help students learn things that cannot be conveyed using a text book or lecture,” he said. The three-story, 48,000 square foot science center was constructed using environmentally friendly materials. Wood harvested from local forests was used to create the classroom furniture and marmoreal floors were installed throughout the building. A special system to neutralize the pH of chemicals used in the labs was installed in the basement. With 11 ceilings, extended hallways, an open stairwell, and larger classrooms, the Center has a bright, open atmosphere that will facilitate better energy use. At the top of the building there is an eighteen-and-a-half-foot observation dome with a powerful telescope. Students in cosmology can take digital pictures through the telescope using a laptop computer and then relay them to the classrooms for observation and discussion. Biology Chair Marc Koolen said, “The new facilities add such great possibilities for teaching. There are folks coming in to tutor us on the state-of-the-art technology in every room, so soon we will be using all of the new gadgets for teaching,” “Another incredible thing is that all of the classrooms were designed by Phillips faculty by rearranging a mock room in Evans until it was perfect.” Planning out every last detail for the classrooms, the 24 science faculty members decided on what types of black boards to use, which chairs and benches were best, and what technology best fit their teaching styles. For space efficiency, teachers decided to use desks that could be used during an experiment as a lab table, and could then be rearranged facing the front of the room or in groups for lectures and audiovisual classes. Instructor in Chemistry Kevin Cardozo said, “There are many faculty members who have put a lot of time and effort into the Gelb center’s classroom design. For the teachers, and all of the students, the opening is a really big event.” The science faculty were not the only ones anticipating Gelb’s grand opening. Physics 550 student Vineel Kankanala ’04 said that he was “really looking forward to using a new cutting-edge building dedicated to the pursuit of the sciences.” “Gelb addresses many of the short comings that Evans faced,” he said. The new science center is named after Richard L. Gelb ’41, who donated $11 million to Campaign Andover for the construction of the building.