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University Prepares for Construction of the Schiller Institute's New Science Facility

The construction of a new science facility to house the Boston College Schiller Institute for Integrated Society will begin this summer following Commencement.

The 150,000 square foot building, which will replace Cushing Hall, represents BC's single largest monetary investment in the sciences, with more than $100 million raised. The name of the facility honors the lead gift from Trustee Phil Schiller ’82 and his wife, Kim Gassett-Schiller, totaling $25 million across several years.

The Schiller Institute marks a remarkable expansion into the sciences and their application, offering students a vast array of opportunities and robust resources to promote the common good and engage in growing fields of study.

New engineering and computer science departments will be housed within the Schiller Institute, bringing in 14 new faculty and staff members, two administrators, and 35 graduate and post-doctorate lab assistants.

Additionally, a new integrated and applied science major, the expansion of the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship, as well as the global public health and common good minor and associated initiatives, will arrive with the Schiller Institute.

Architects at Payette Associates have unrolled a plan for the five story building. Clean rooms used for specialized industrial production and precise research, as well as a core lab, will be found in the basement of the building.

A 188-seat auditorium, several of the 11 classrooms, architecture and robotics labs, and a café will follow on the first floor.

Maker spaces, more classrooms, and data analytics labs, in addition to the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Teaching Excellence's active learning classrooms, will be located on the second floor.

Integrated science and engineering labs will be located on the third floor, as well as the beginning of computer science designated spaces, which will extend to the fifth floor.

The fourth floor will focus on physics, engineering, and computer sciences, while the fifth floor will center on biological sciences and health.

While the majority of the plan is filled, the remaining open spaces indicate room for expansion, development, and progression to match the needs of the cohort of students and faculty utilizing the space.

In addition to offering the resources needed for advanced and niche work in materials and life sciences, the Schiller Institute will be home to many core curriculum courses, integrating a wide array of students and fostering the values of liberal arts and service for the common good.

According to Vice Provost for Research and DeLuca Professor of Biology Thomas Chiles, the Schiller Institute will enable “Boston College to attract talented and innovative undergraduate and graduate students” and unite them in the effort to “address critical global problems in targeted areas such as energy, health, and the environment.”

A number of novel research and involvement initiatives tied to the Schiller Institute are already receiving spotlight from major news sources, such as the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health, directed by Professor of Biology Phillip J. Landrigan, M.D..

The growing commendations for BC’s dedication to research and experiential learning indicate that the University will continue to maintain its position among less than 3% of educational institutes in the U.S. as a "Very High Research Activities” institution, as classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutes in Higher Education.

At the local scale, the Global Observatory is already partnered with the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, indicating how several academic forces within Boston will be tied to the Schiller Institute.

The partnership with United Nations Environment and Landrigan’s personal involvement with Partners In Health—through his work strategizing protection of public health during industrialization in Rwanda—offer paths for students to develop experience and involvement on a global scale.

According to an article published by University Communications, Landrigan, “hopes to find ways for BC graduates and students to participate in PIH initiatives in Rwanda, Haiti, and other countries served by the organization.”

There will be an information session for the BC community regarding the construction process and its impact on traffic, parking, and other aspects of campus life on Tuesday, April 30, at 3:30 p.m. in Devlin 110.

Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Dean Gregory Kalscheur, S.J., Vice Provost for Research and Academic Planning Thomas Chiles, Vice President for Facilities Management Daniel Bourque, Associate Vice President for Capital Projects Management Mary Nardone, and Senior Construction Project Manager Thomas Runyon will be in attendance at the meeting to update the community on the progress of the Schiller Institute and its construction.

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