New Science Building, Phases 1 and 2 - Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, Kentucky



After years of being scattered in multiple buildings throughout the campus, Eastern Kentucky University’s New Science Building brings together the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy, Science Education, and the Division of Natural Areas. The new building was designed to create public spaces that display the sciences and encourage interaction between the departments and the wider community.

Omni led a highly collaborative design process to ensure that the building supports new pedagogies in science education. Virtually all the faculty members of the various departments worked closely with the design team to contribute ideas, comment on plans, and develop equipment lists. As a result, the teaching spaces promote the dynamic, collaborative, experience-based teaching that is characteristic of the university. Students now thrive in the new facility, which features teaching laboratories, computational labs, faculty and student research laboratories, classrooms, seminar rooms, and faculty and student organization offices.

Phase 1 of the NSB houses the departments of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Science Education, and the Division of Natural Areas in approximately 174,195 square feet. Phase 2 includes the departments of Geosciences and Biological Sciences in approximately 148,058
square feet. Located throughout the building are teaching laboratories, computational labs, faculty and student research labs, classrooms, seminar rooms, chemical storage areas, offices for faculty and student organizations, a clean room, and a greenhouse adjacent to the building. A key design objective was to create public spaces that display the sciences and encourage interaction between the departments and the wider community.

The building and site were designed to raise environmental awareness and to function as teaching tools. Metering systems display energy usage in the building; trees planted in close proximity to the building is managed as a natural area where students can measure growth and make ecological observations; an artificial outcrop, created from rock removed during blasting, is used to teach and practice field geology techniques; a storm water wetland houses a rich ecological community of native wetland plants that can be observed and studied. Inside the building, sustainable features include recycled wood that was used on the lobby stair treads and other floor surfaces. In addition, hallways and classrooms feature polished concrete, which eliminates issues related to adhesives and tile. The building achieved LEED Gold certification from USGBC.

THE CLIENT SAYS….

“I just walked the halls of the NSB and am so inspired…In every nook and cranny I saw a group of students working on Science... More students are succeeding in class...The number of D, F and W students fell 48% to an all time low... We attribute it to all the things the building brings including tutoring, lab orientations, and a positive daily outlook for students and faculty. This building is performing exceptionally well. Words can't really describe what it means to us. Thank you does not seem to be enough.”

Lori Wilson, Ph.D. - Professor and Chair Department of Chemistry, Eastern Kentucky University


WOULD YOU GET MARRIED IN A SCIENCE BUILDING? Click here to read the story of one couple who did.