Let There Be Light

With hundreds of added windows, the newly renovated and expanded Bush Science Center shines a spotlight on scientific discovery.

The 2013 school year has officially begun and, with the campus having made it through the hectic first two weeks of classes, students are finally settling in to their routines. Amidst the familiar trappings of campus life stands a new-ish addition: the Archibald Granville Bush Science Center (BSC). The newly renovated 100,000+-square-foot science facility positions Rollins to provide students with increased research opportunities and a highly interactive and engaging learning experience. 

One of the goals of the $27.5-million project was to create an interdisciplinary environment that would promote integrative science. Faculty members from various academic disciplines—biology, chemistry, computer science, marine biology, mathematics, physics, and psychology—will be able to more easily collaborate on research in a building that supports connectivity and accessibility.

“The science center’s dynamic, interdisciplinary spaces create an atmosphere of scientific discovery and will allow us to keep pace with the emerging technology of the 21st century,” said Rollins College President Lewis Duncan. “With a national focus on STEM education, Rollins is better equipped to encourage and support current and future students to pursue scientific fields.”

Designed by EYP Architecture & Engineering, the science center blends seamlessly with the College’s distinctive Spanish-Mediterranean architecture and is now the largest building on campus boasting 51 offices, 15 classrooms, 15 teaching labs, 19 research labs, and 18 student/faculty offices.

A key feature of the new building is the three-story Rice Family Atrium, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the main pedestrian promenade and the nearby Annie Russell Theatre. Not only will the atrium provide dramatic views to the green space outside the building, it puts the sciences on display, allowing visitors and passersby to view the exciting research happening in the labs.

“Transparency was a primary objective in the design of the building,” said Rollins College Director of Facilities Scott Bitikofer. “You will be able to see into the laboratories and classrooms and actually watch science happening.”

While the labs and student spaces are sure to grab the most attention, there’s plenty more that makes Bush a state-of-the-art facility. The entire building is a model of sustainability, sporting eco-friendly features such as an energy recovery wheel for retrieving energy lost during cooling and dehumidification, direct digital control, LED lights, and chilled-water powered air conditioning. The site will also use rain water harvesting for nonpotable usage and Florida-native cypress trees to aid in the natural treatment of storm water. Rollins anticipates that the building will receive LEED Silver Certification.

Major donors to the project include the Charles E. and Dianne T. Rice Family, F. Duane Ackerman ’64 ‘70MBA ‘00H, the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Inc., and the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation. Mrs. Edyth Bush, the late founder of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, was the wife of the building’s namesake, the late Mr. Archibald Granville Bush. Gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Bush and from Mr. Bush’s foundation, the Minnesota-based Bush Foundation, made possible the original construction of the building in the 1960s.