Discovery Hall opened on Sept. 14 with a ceremony welcoming the Rowan University community to celebrate its newest academic building on the Glassboro campus. The $47 million, four-story facility expands science education and research space to meet continued demand for enrollment.
The new home to Rowan’s fast-growing School of Earth & Environment and College of Science & Mathematics, Discovery Hall is a mix of instruction and research facilities designed to serve generations of students pursuing in-demand careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“Today we celebrate yet another new building in a series of new buildings over the last 10 years,” Rowan President Ali A. Houshmand said in the building’s brick and glass-walled lobby moments before the ribbon cutting.
Recent construction includes Holly Pointe Commons, a 1,400-bed residence hall in 2016; Business Hall, home to the Rohrer College of Business, in 2017; Engineering Hall, which enabled a virtual doubling of the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering, in 2018; and Rowan Boulevard, which was completed in 2019.
Rowan next month breaks ground on a world-class museum and welcome center at the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University in Mantua Township.
Built to address rising challenges
Founding Dean Kenneth Lacovara of the School of Earth & Environment said Discovery Hall is but one visible example of Rowan’s commitment to prepare students for STEM field careers at a time when they are most desperately needed.
“There is nothing more important than finding solutions to the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis,” Lacovara said.
While the catastrophic effects of rising global temperatures are well-documented and worsening, less discussed is a crushing decline in the biomass of wild animals which, like climate change, are directly related to human activity over the past 200 years, Lacovara said.
Dean Vojislava (Voki) Pophristic of the College of Science & Mathematics said Discovery Hall’s mix of research and undergraduate teaching labs provide Rowan the space and resources needed to help meet such vital challenges.
The building includes six active learning classrooms, four chemistry labs, two biology labs, six traditional lecture spaces and specialty research labs for geology, paleontology, environmental science, computational research and molecular paleontology, one of just two research spaces in the nation dedicated to the study of ancient proteins in fossils.
“These are new, beautiful, state-of-the-art labs, well-designed to prepare future generations of scientists, medical professionals, engineers” and other STEM-field professionals, Pophristic said. “And though they’re beautiful, the important thing is not their aesthetics but their functionality. We’ll have 1,200 students using these labs every semester.”
Like Lacovara, Pophristic said the need for highly trained, in-demand STEM professionals is staggering, and Rowan is doing its part to prepare students.
“We produce about 1,500 graduates (in the STEM fields) per year,” she said. “That’s an army.”
The Discovery Hall project also includes student collaboration space and public art inside and out including “Time Sweeps,” a 264-ton stone sculpture built on the grounds this summer.
“It’s exciting to have such a beautiful new building right in the heart of campus,” said Student Government Association President Matthew Beck. “This new building gives students and faculty members in STEM disciplines a home to make new discoveries… and to learn more about our world.”