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Metro Brief: New 145,000-square-foot Bioscience Education Center is academic cornerstone

Montgomery County

On September 22, 2014
Bioscience Education Center

The Bioscience Education Center in Germantown was recently completed.
Credit: Pete Vidal/Montgomery College

Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard and the College’s Board of Trustees dedicated the new Bioscience Education Center on the Germantown Campus last week. 

The state of the art 145,000 square-foot building allows Montgomery College to expand its mission of providing educational excellence in the sciences to meet the county’s need for a highly skilled and knowledgeable STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce.

“Our Bioscience Education Center will fortify our workforce from lab bench workers to the next generation of scientists,” said Pollard. “It will fuel our economy. It will drive new discoveries and open new vistas.”

The three-story building represents an $87.9 million investment in STEM education and workforce development. The Bioscience Education Center houses: 

  • six general purpose classrooms,
  • eight recitation rooms,
  • 25 wet laboratories,
  • a science learning center,
  • a detached greenhouse complex,
  • 48 offices to support the biology, biotechnology and chemistry curricula,
  • a 4,115-square-foot meeting room (conference center) and five break-out rooms.

Throughout the facility, 700 electronic devices, including Smart Instructor Work Stations, computers and monitors will support activities in the classrooms and labs.

The building’s biotechnology laboratories were designed to provide instruction meeting industry standards, including dedicated space for teaching cell culture, biomanufacturing (cell propagation using bioreactors and protein purification using FPLC units) and genetic diagnostics utilizing Next Generation DNA sequencers and digital droplet PCR. A mock GMP lab that mimics the industry environment provides training opportunities for local industry partners.

“We are not your average college, and this is not your average bioscience education building,” said Dr. Collins R. Jones, professor of biotechnology. “This building has greatly surpassed our expectations.”

Mitchell Giurgola Architects designed the interior and the exterior of the building. The Lukmire Partnership, based in Arlington, Va. was the architect of record. Bethesda based Clark Construction started construction on the center in March 2011. The building’s structural steel frame supports composite metal decks. It is wrapped in a high-performance masonry, aluminum panel and curtain wall façade.

More than 75 acres of mature forest and a stream valley buffer will be preserved on the Germantown Campus. The forest reserve includes a champion American elm with a 100-foot canopy – one of the largest in Montgomery County.

Maryland is a global leader in bioscience and technology education, and ranks among the top five regions nationally in biotechnology. The center will provide a continuum of life sciences education and training from middle school to postdoctoral levels in an integrated academic, business, and research environment.

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