Saturday, September 28, 2013

USF opening $54 million science and innovation center

Sep 26, 2013, 1:16pm PDT Updated: Sep 27, 2013, 5:01am PDT, San Francisco Business Times

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USF Dean Marcelo Campari, with the mid-1960s Harney Science Center on the right and the new Lo Schiavo Center for Science and Innovation behind him. Also behind him are skylights that serve underground classrooms.

Ron Leuty Reporter- San Francisco Business Times

The University of San Francisco is taking its science education into the future, formally opening its $54 million John Lo Schiavo, S.J., Center for Science and Innovation on Friday.

The 59,0000-square-foot, five-level center, near the middle of USF's campus off Masonic Avenue, will serve more than 6,000 students required to take one science and math course during their undergraduate time at USF. But it will be a focal point for USF's 1,239 students majoring in the environmental sciences, health sciences and computer sciences.

The building, for which ground was broken in December 2010, is named after "Father Lo," whose 60-year career included stints as president and chancellor of the private, Jesuit university.

See this YouTube video about the Lo Schiavo Center for Science and Innovation.

The Lo Schiavo center includes 17 classrooms and blends USF's various science programs, instead of layering them, starting with physics in the basement and chemistry on a top floor. The design, drawn up by NBBJ of San Francisco and built by Cahill Contractors of San Francisco, employs skylights for underground classrooms that line a sunken plaza and windows that open automatically based on the weather.

USF is seeking "LEED gold" status from the U.S. Green Building Council for the structure.

Lo Schiavo center also includes several "interaction areas," said Brandon Brown, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy who served with computer science professor Chris Brooks as "project shepherds."

The building connects to the 90,000-square-foot Harney Science Center, which Brown said was part of the "post-Sputnik" surge in government funding of science education. In fact, half of the funding for Harney, which opened in 1965, came from National Sciences Foundation grants, Brown said.

Seventy-five percent of the Lo Schiavo center's cost is covered by donors; the remainder is paid by USF.
Ron Leuty covers biotech, higher education and China for the San Francisco Business Times.

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