A small blessing ceremony on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus on August 8, 2013 marked a huge milestone for the College of Natural Sciences—a $15 million renovation to Edmondson Hall, home to the college’s biology department.
“We have a state-of-the-art biology department with now a state-of-the-art biology building,” said William Ditto, the dean of the UH Mānoa College of Natural Sciences.
“It’s a rebirth for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa life sciences.”
“It’s a moment of pride,” agreed Steve Robinow, the interim chair of the UH Mānoa biology department. “We can walk students and faculty and families through here and show them what we have and be really proud of the environment, the learning environment we get to provide their children.”
The four-story, 42,000 square foot building features nine teaching laboratories for undergraduates, and two 5,000 square foot research labs for faculty and graduate students.
“I know that we’re going to get the best education that we can get now, because everything is state-of-the-art so it’s going to be really exciting,” said UH Mānoa student Kristen Lee.
“Our labs are really large and they are all shared between the faculty, which is great, so we can kind of share equipment, and we can have all the other grad students around you for advice,” said Caroline Dong, a UH Mānoa graduate student.
“Science is really a collaborative endeavor so the building was designed with that philosophy,” explained Robinow.
The renovation also included sophisticated lab storage and staging areas, administration and faculty offices and meeting rooms.
“Moving forward, it allows us to continue to recruit excellent new faculty,” said Robinow. “People come here and they’ll see the excitement and the wonderful space that we have.”
“What you don’t see by just looking at the building and the facilities is how creative the curriculum is now, how creative the research is that’s going to be done in that building,” said Ditto.
The next step is a $35 million renovation to the adjacent Snyder Hall, where the microbiology department is located. That work is scheduled to begin in late 2013. When it is completed, Snyder and Edmondson will be called the UH Mānoa Center for Life Science Research and Teaching.
“This is important to the entire university and the people of Hawaiʻi,” said Ditto. “This is the future.”