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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 13, 2004

Grand Opening Of Biological Sciences Complex Is Oct. 15

The UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Department of Biological Sciences will celebrate the grand opening of the Biological Sciences Complex with a 4-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15 open house, program and reception in the lobby of Biology Building East (BBE), Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue.

The event is free and open to the public.

Following opening remarks by CLAS Dean Linda Maxson at 4:30 p.m., brief talks will be presented by Jack Lilien, professor and departmental executive officer of biological sciences, and Gary Gussin, professor of biological sciences, who served as departmental executive officer during much of the renovation planning period.

Commenting on the multi-year renovation project, Lilien said, "It is hard to believe we are finally finished. For six years the department has been a 'hard hat' area, under construction and renovation. But occupying the finished complex of buildings makes it all worthwhile. All of our faculty members are now together for the first time, and our facilities are second to none. New facilities and many new faculty members have given a new vigor in the department and I expect many new collaborations and a great deal of interaction among the faculty."

Faculty and graduate students will conduct tours of the various labs as well as several departmental facilities, including the microscopy and imaging facility, the greenhouse, the computer classroom, the biological sciences library, and the Roy J. Carver Center for Comparative Genomics.

Established in the fall of 2001 with a $700,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine to the UI Foundation, the Roy J. Carver Center for Comparative Genomics supports research and training of graduate and undergraduate students through close collaboration with the curriculum in biological sciences and through cooperative interactions with other departments and faculty members on campus. One of the first of its kind in the United States, the center distinguishes the UI as a leader in the new and emerging discipline of comparative genomics, the study of the inter-relatedness of all life forms.

The first part of the two-phase construction and planning program to improve UI biological sciences facilities involved remodeling the old Biology Annex, which houses the departmental library, followed by completion of the Biology Building East, a 56,000-square-foot research facility that opened for classes at the beginning of the fall semester 2000. The building houses five new classrooms, the new Jerry J. Kollros Auditorium equipped with the latest in teaching and presentation technology, state-of-the-art research laboratories, a greenhouse and the Raymond Fong Conference Room. Brooks, Borg and Skiles, a Des Moines architectural firm, designed the new building, and McComas-Lacina of Iowa City served as the general contractor for the overall project. The $17.7 million Biology Building East project also included construction of the skywalk, designed by architect Siah Armajani and built by general contractor Taylor Ball, Inc. of Cedar Rapids.

The second phase of the biological sciences improvement program involved renovation of the 1902-vintage Old Biology Building to accommodate faculty offices and 13 state-of-the-art laboratories. Also included were the upgrading of labs, offices and classrooms in the Biology 1 and Biology 2 buildings, constructed with federal funds in 1965 and 1971, respectively. The cost of the final phase was $16.8 million, of which $14.7 was appropriated by the Iowa Legislature.

The UI Department of Biological Sciences is a nationally recognized research center that currently consists of 31 tenure-track faculty, 52 graduate students, and more than 70 full-time and part-time support staff. More than 600 students list the biological sciences as their major, double the number of some 12 years ago, and the department attracts more than 3,000 students from seven of the UI's 11 colleges. It offers a wide array of graduate programs and conducts research across the full spectrum of biological sciences, from cell, molecular and developmental biology to neurobiology, physiology, and ecology and evolution.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. Persons with disabilities who require an accommodation in order to participate should contact the UI Department of Biological Sciences at 319-335-1050.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,