Georgia State Alpharetta campus constructs first science labs

Construction of the new science labs at Georgia State’s Alpharetta campus is set to be complete by spring 2018. Photo by Lahar Samantarai | The Signal

Georgia State’s Alpharetta campus is constructing new science labs that are expected to be ready by January 2018.

For the past two years, the campus has been renting out a Fulton County high school for students taking chemistry and biology lab courses, which has created some obstacles for teachers and inconvenience for students.

“The arrangement we have with Fulton County and Chattahoochee High School has been phenomenal for our campus and allowed us to teach classes we otherwise wouldn’t be able to, but there are still challenges,” Jen Bon said, a lab supervisor at the Alpharetta campus.

But Bon said because of high school hours, university lab courses are only limited to evening hours, which often don’t work for students.

“Additionally there are some college level science labs that high schools don’t have the proper lab space or equipment to teach.  Organic chemistry labs and microbiology labs are two of the big ones that our students need to graduate that we can’t offer,” Bon said.

Tina Philpot, associate dean of Academic Services at the Alpharetta campus, said she feels very optimistic about the new addition to Alpharetta’s campus. She said she expects some positive impacts on the student population.

“I believe this will increase student attendance now, since [students] will no longer have to travel off campus,” Philpot said. “It will definitely be a positive.”

Besides the need for adequate lab equipment, another motive for building the new labs is to satisfy companies eager to get students with an understanding and capability to work in STEM fields, according to Paulos Yohannes, Associate Dean of Sciences. These new labs offer opportunities, which will benefit both the students and the companies seeking them for work.

“The science courses that we teach at Alpharetta are the basic courses that almost all STEM majors are required to take. We understand that there is a significant need of workforce in the STEM fields at Alpharetta. Those students that major in STEM fields will start taking our basic courses that will help them fulfill their B.S degree requirements,” he said.

Yohannes said the university hopes that STEM majors will be recruited by local industries in the early stages of their college careers.

“I believe there will be great opportunity for our students to connect with the local companies that they will have future employment opportunity.  Our students will have the opportunity to be able to do internship at the industries while taking classes at Alpharetta,” he said.

The lab construction team, Albion Scaccia, will be trying their best to keep the noise and distractions to the minimum for students. Bon said the team is aware of the campus’ schedule and are making efforts to work around them.

“On any addition like this there will be some unavoidable noise, but they’re aware that the majority of classes and events on this campus are Monday through Thursday during the day and they’re respectful of that,” Bon said. “They’ve gone so far as to schedule some deliveries in the middle of the night. Albion Scaccia asked for the final exam schedule and will be trying to limit noise and vibrations during those times as well.”

The school as well has made plans to move summer classes to their other building to decrease disruptions.

“In order to allow Albion Scaccia to get their work done as efficiently as possible and to minimize disruptions to classes we’ll be moving the majority of summer classes from the AB building into the AA building,” Bon said.