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Posted: April 8, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Science building, dorm coming to Oxford

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Students at Oxford College of Emory University can begin looking forward to added opportunities and space to learn now that the college announced it will begin construction on a new science building this spring.

The $29.9 million project, which is expected to achieve a LEED Gold certification, is being built by Brasfield & Gorrie and should be finished by January 2016.

“Having a science facility that can meet the needs of Oxford’s thriving curriculum has been our primary goal for a number of years,” said Stephen Bowen, dean of Oxford College.

The new building will be located on the northwest corner of the campus quad. The two dorms that stand there now, Branham and East, will be torn down in July once students leave for the summer. By the time they come back in August, Fleming Hall, a 206-bed residence hall that is already under construction, will be available for move-in.

Newton County Fire Service and Covington Fire Department plan to use Branham and East halls as fire training and smoke alarm sites before demolition.

At 57,500 gross square feet, this building will be the largest structure on the Oxford campus. Building designs were completed by EYP Architecture & Engineering, an award-winning firm that specializes in higher education facilities.
Red brick will be used around most of the structure, according to a press release, to match some of Oxford’s historic buildings, adorned with Lithonia granite, which is a locally quarried stone used in many other campus buildings.

Designs show a main entrance from the south side, facing the quad, which will lead to the “nucleus,” a two-story gathering space designed to look and feel like the center of the four-story building. The nucleus will be available for group study, learning activities and faculty or student meetings. Wood-plank flooring and Gothic-influenced decoration will glow from the two-story window that is designed to shine into the nucleus.

Rooms and teaching spaces were created with an aim to be available for a variety of learning experiences. A research and investigation zone was included on each floor with space for faculty-student research.

According to the press release, students who come to Oxford College with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) continue on to graduate in STEM disciplines at a higher rate than students nationwide.

“The small class size (a typical maximum is 24) allows faculty to know and work with each student individually, and Oxford faculty teach their own laboratories, an unusual learning experience for students at the introductory level,” said Eloise Carter, a biology professor at the college and lead faculty member for the building’s planning and design.

All 947 students enrolled for the 2013-2014 academic year, as found on the Oxford College website, are freshman and sophomores.

“With all Oxford students required to take at least one laboratory course,” Carter said, “the new science building will touch the education of every student.”

Cathy Wooten, director of communications at Oxford College, said in an email that funding for the building was sourced entirely by charitable contributions from alumni, faculty, staff and friendly donors to the college. The new residence halls were funded partly through student residential fees.

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