Coe celebrates the $12 million renovation of Peterson Hall of Science with rededication ceremony

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2012-09-19 13:42:07 - General

Coe College will celebrate the reopening of Peterson Hall of Science following this summer's $12 million renovation of the facility. The rededication will take place on Friday, Sept. 28, as part of the college's Homecoming Weekend activities. A reception will be held beginning at 3 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium lobby, with tours taking place at 3:10 p.m. and 4:50 p.m. The rededication ceremony is scheduled at 4 p.m. in Cherry Auditorium, and the general public is invited to attend.

The guest speaker for the event is Delbert E. Day, Curators' Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering and Senior Investigator of the Graduate Center for Materials Research at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Coe President James Phifer and Coe science faculty members will also give remarks during the ceremony.

Attendees will be able to see the results of this summer's major renovation project, as well as Coe's modern research-grade equipment. Major funding for the project was provided through a $4.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), earned through a highly competitive peer-review process. This represents the largest grant ever received by the college. A $1.5 million grant for the project was provided by the Hall-Perrine Foundation. Additional support was provided by other grants and generous gifts from alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the college.

The remodeling involved reconfiguring space throughout the existing building, creating classrooms and laboratories that are fully capable of housing Coe's modern research-grade equipment. The success of faculty efforts has resulted in a growing number of state-of-the-art instruments, all of which require dedicated spaces and superior infrastructure. Finally, new mechanicals and lighting were installed to create an inviting and welcoming educational environment.

While the inside of the building is essentially new, some additional work is planned to complete the entire renovation project. In the summer of 2013, a large entrance will be constructed on the east end of the building along College Drive, creating additional study spaces for science students. In addition, new windows will be installed in the entire building to improve energy efficiency. The end result is the transformation of the 40-year-old building into a modern science center.

"This major renovation of Peterson Hall of Sciences truly represents a leap forward for the college," said Coe President James Phifer. "The facility now provides an outstanding academic and research environment for our world-class science programs. We are grateful to the National Science Foundation, the Hall-Perrine Foundation, and the many alumni and friends who have made this project a reality. Their combined generosity will allow Coe students and faculty to benefit from the 'new' Peterson Hall for decades to come."

Coe's successful science programs supported by NSF
Coe has had a long history of success working with the NSF. A national leader in providing research and publication opportunities to undergraduates, Coe annually hosts more than 50 undergraduates who participate in summer research. Coe is one of only a handful of small colleges in the United States designated as a site for the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). As well, Coe leads all eastern Iowa colleges in NSF grants received during the past decade, with 28.

Coe counts among its faculty ranks Fulbright, PECASE and Carnegie Foundation-recognized scholars. During the past five years, Coe faculty and students have published more than 50 journal articles. This represents a level of scholarship that is extraordinary for a small undergraduate institution.

Not only are the sciences at Coe distinguished due to publishing with students, but also because the college has recently secured more than 10 major competitive grants for equipment, research, undergraduate research and instruction. Coe has received the American Physical Society Prize for Research in an Undergraduate Institution and various awards of similar stature.

Peterson Hall's academic programs offer a pipeline to careers in the sciences. More than 70 percent of recent graduates in the sciences have matriculated to graduate or professional schools. The acceptance rate of Coe science graduates who apply to medical school is 91 percent. Other graduates land professional positions in scientific research and industry.  Cedar Rapids is an international leader in the bioproducts, food-processing and avionics industries, with Coe providing a steady stream of highly qualified science students for careers that benefit Iowa's economy.