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Volume 58, Issue 1

July, 2009

New chapter begins with Aug. 6 dedication ceremony

If you thought Cinderella's preparations for the royal ball were elaborate, look at plans to inaugurate the Science and Engineering Building at UCCS.

A 9 a.m. Aug. 6 ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony is only the beginning. Presenting the pendulum -- an ongoing artistic display -- will be another of the day's events, followed by tours throughout the day exploring state-of-the-art facilities meant to serve the regional community as well as students in the years to come.

Colorado legislators, members of the CU Board of Regents, and other regional officials will attend. Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak will host the occasion. Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the celebration.

Outreach to K-12 students and a welcoming facility for secondary school children are planned. And while these are appropriate to a day for dedication events, the features are to be regular, ongoing activities providing young school students opportunities to interact with engineering and science experiments. Interactive centers, called imagination stations, will allow visitors to learn about the research and teachings in the building. Interactive programs, derived from the work of UCCS students in the Bachelor of Innovation Game Design and Development program, are another ongoing feature. Research work in the building will be on display to visitors, and while the primary focus is intended to engage future engineers and scientists, everyone is welcome.

Anticipation for this day has been growing since the project's July 2006 groundbreaking. Intended in part to replace antiquated teaching and laboratory facilities in the Science Building, the new structure brings together various components of the university's science and engineering departments as well as research institutes. Departments of biology, physics, and mechanical and aerospace engineering as well as the National Institute for Science, Space and Security Centers and the CU Institute for Bioenergetics will now be housed in a single facility. The flexible research space will promote joint research and encourage inter-disciplinary opportunities, according to information provided by Debbie Lapioli, executive assistant, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance.

The 156,000 gross square feet complex is the largest building on the UCCS campus, significantly expanding current science and engineering capabilities, and will include innovative classrooms, teaching labs, research labs for science and engineering and computer technology, along with faculty and staff offices. Following guidelines for environmental friendliness and efficient energy use, the building will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification, Lapioli said.

By Colorado state law, a portion of construction costs to state-owned buildings is to be used for art. The Science and Engineering Building will boast an artistic phenomenon that encompasses scientific and engineering principles as well as aesthetic value. The Foucault pendulum, named after the French physicist Leon Foucault, originated in 1851 as an experiment to show the rotation of the Earth. Foucault’s pendulum provided a dynamic, easy-to-see demonstration, and today Foucault pendulums are located in many science museums, planetariums and educational facilities around the world. Brian Burnett, vice chancellor, Administration and Finance, noted that there are only five such pendulums in Colorado. The pendulum in the new complex, created by artists Po Shu Wang and Louise Bertelsen, will be in operation during the day.

Communique is the online newsletter for UCCS faculty and staff. It is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters, monthly during the summer semester. Communique is sent to faculty and staff e-mail lists and, by request, to other e-mail addresses. Previous issues are available in the Communique Archives at, and the current issue is always at Suggestions and comments are welcome. Send ideas to or call Tom Hutton, 255-3439.

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