August 11, 2020

Jepson Science Center Renovation Revs Up Student Research

Renovations to UMW’s Jepson Science Center incllude new three-story wing with floor-to-ceiling windows facing College Avenue. Inside, geology labs, physics classrooms, and mapping courses showcase science in action. Photo by Adam Ewing.

Renovations to UMW’s Jepson Science Center incllude new three-story wing with floor-to-ceiling windows facing College Avenue. Inside, geology labs, physics classrooms, and mapping courses showcase science in action. Photo by Adam Ewing.

Thanh-Binh Duong’s research on microplastics could be vital to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Carmen Cantrell studies hydrology on the hunt for dangerous contaminants. The two UMW seniors are among scores of Mary Washington students whose important undergraduate research stands to reach new heights, thanks to the Jepson Science Center’s recent renovation.

The project added more than 42,000 square feet, 16 new labs and three classrooms to the building, along with 30,000 square feet of renovations. A new three-story wing with floor-to-ceiling windows gives passersby a view of geology labs, physics classrooms, mapping courses and other examples of science in action. Inspired in part by the boiler plant across the street and strikingly different from other campus buildings, the modern new wing is meant to put “science on display” on College Avenue.

Almost all of the nearly $28 million cost for the upgrades was covered with funds allocated by the Virginia General Assembly, according to Project Manager Leslie Johnson.

“The past few years we’ve been kind of cramped,” Department of Biology Chair Lynn Lewis said of the original Jepson Science Center, which opened in 1998. “I think this new facility will give a lot of people more access to lab space.” Read more.