Lehman College officially starts ‘Decade of the Sciences’

Wellington Chen, CUNY Trustee, Iris Weinshall, vice chancellor for facilities planning, construction, and management, Ricardo Fernandez, Lehman College president, Matthew Goldstien, CUNY chancellor, Adolfo Carrion, Bronx borough president, Daniel Doktori, New York states director of higher education gather for the New Science Building groundbreaking. Courtesy of Keisha-Gaye Anderson

Lehman College officially starts its newest project leading the way for the “Decade of the Sciences.”

On Wednesday, September 24, Lehman celebrated the groundbreaking for Phase I, of the three-phase project, intended to open up new opportunities and research to faculty and students.

“We are assembled here on this beautiful fall morning to celebrate a new beginning for Lehman College and for the great borough of the Bronx,” said Lehman College president, Ricardo Fernandez.

Phase I of the project, expected to reach completion in 2011, totals $ 68.5 million, featuring versatile labs and a rooftop teaching and research greenhouse.

“The events that occur here, the discoveries that are made here, will resound in prestigious scientific journals, at conferences around the world, and in new knowledge and new medicines that impact our daily lives,” stated Fernandez.

The facility is the first Lehman building to be submitted to LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, hoping to receive Gold certification. Part of the design, by Perkins + Will, includes solar heating panels, rooftop rainwater collection, an artificial wetland with native grasses to decontaminate stormwater and graywater to be reused for cleaning and maintenance in the building.

“As a science student I think this is great, I was so excited when I heard about this project. It gives people that are coming up a good opportunity, and I am happy for them. It has state of the art technology and now you don’t have to go to all different schools to get a PhD, you can just stay here to continue your education,” said Vince Bracy, biology major at Lehman College.

Panels will be present in the building to keep track of information such as energy saved through the solar panels and amount of water cleansed and recirculated. Its design also encourages disciplinary interaction, as well as undergraduate, graduate, and faculty cooperation.

Lehman freshman, Gary Conley expressed his enthusiasm for the new building. “It’s going to bring a lot more opportunities to the campus and bring more people to follow the scientific field. Its not every day a college does something like this.”

This first phase is geared towards creating a ‘campus with a campus’ designated to the increase interest in the science field, conducting research and gathering information needed during this time to aid in prevention of environmental problems facing the world.

“The Bronx has come a long way, this campus shows the best effort,” said Borough President, Adolfo Carrion. “We believe in something greater than the immediate. The best investment we can make is the education of the next generation. This is the right thing to do, building a better Bronx, a better New York, and in the end a better world.”

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