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ARC teaches learning and working in new ways

New building opens for winter quarter
Jan 4, 2010
By Colleen Carow

Students, faculty and staff in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) are starting the year off on the right feet -- inside the new, $35 million, 100,000-square foot Academic & Research Center (ARC).
Connecting Stocker Center and Irvine Hall, the facility houses the Russ College?s classroom space and state-of-the art research space for OU-COM in an open design that will encourage collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

The ARC is expected to transform the educational experience for engineering and technology students as well as university biomedical research efforts.

?This new research facility is the first step in OU-COM?s progression to a major research institution,? said Dean Jack Brose, D.O. ?Our college will have an even stronger foundation for major advancements in the biomedical, social and clinical sciences.?

The facility also marks the first community space that the Russ College has had in its almost 75-year history. ?No longer will we be physically separated in a way that inhibits the kind of creativity that grows from interaction and interdisciplinary knowledge,? said Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin.

Modeled after a modern working environment, the building features a large central atrium called the ?living room,? which includes a cafe; suites of project team rooms with flexible furniture; a large engineering project hangar with glass garage doors and an industrial
crane; and many informal gathering spaces. A third-floor nook boasts the Athens campus? only holographic fireplace. Many of the building's systems are exposed to serve as a teaching tool for current and prospective students.

Researchers and students alike will benefit from the natural fusion of modern medicine and engineering. Seven OU-COM researchers whose work focuses on cancer and diabetes will move into the ARC this month. OU-COM will occupy a total of 18 labs, while several Russ College faculty members who are part of the colleges? collaborative biomedical engineering master?s program also will occupy research space.

The cafe, managed by Ohio University Dining Services, serves brewed coffee and espresso drinks, pastries, sandwiches, salads, cookies and other desserts, and fountain drinks on weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Coffee is supplied by local, Gallipolis-based Silver Bridge Coffee Company, where fresh Arabica beans harvested from all over the world are blended and roasted in small batches.

Brose notes that in his experience, great collaborations don?t arise from formal meetings.

?They?re impromptu,? he said. ?They come from people standing in a hallway and talking, going together to a conference, or just bumping into each other. More ideas will come from meeting someone in the cafe than from formal meetings.?

Aaron Shelly, a senior mechanical engineering student, agrees, saying that this kind of collaboration and access to flexible gathering spaces will improve his collaborative capstone design project. ?The open environment and classrooms will promote learning and interaction with fellow students,? he said. ?It?s also great that student organizations have space to work on extracurricular projects.?

The ARC is Ohio University?s first capital project to be funded primarily through the generosity of private donors. Approximately $23 million was raised from more than 550 individuals and organizations, including $10 million from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and $5 million from Russ College alumnus Chuck Stuckey and his wife, Marilyn.

Only Cutler Hall (1819), Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium (1928) and Margaret M. Walter Hall (2003) were also constructed primarily with private support.

A public grand opening will be held on Saturday, May 8, but all are welcome to experience Ohio University?s newest facility in the meantime.


Karoline Lane of OU-COM contributed to this story.


Published: Jan 4, 2010 2:00 PM

ARCbuilding outside

Outside view of the new $35 million Academic & Research Center

ARCatrium atrium

A view of the skylight above the building's central stairwell.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell 

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