The recently completed Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS) at Montclair State University, a new 100,000 square foot building designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM), will serve as the home for the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences starting in the fall of 2015. This project expands the University’s science research infrastructure by 50 percent and provides students with state-of-the-art facilities and high-tech learning environments. The facility was built in part with state funding from the $750-million New Jersey “Building Our Future” Bond Act approved by voters in November of 2012. The Bond Act is the state’s first major capital investment in higher education facilities in more than 25 years.
The new building will provide a seminar/lecture hall, instructional and research laboratories, research support and equipment rooms, incubator laboratories, offices, and seminar conference rooms for the College of Science and Mathematics (CSAM). In addition to the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, the building will house the University’s Sokol Institute for the Pharmaceutical Life Sciences, PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies, and the Passaic River Institute. The new center will be able to create academic and research space along with associated development on the site of McEachern Hall. In addition, this new facility will consolidate and foster a new identity and hub of activity for the University’s science programs.
The Center will allow Montclair State's CSAM to build on its collaborative culture to combine strengths across disciplines and build research programs of exceptional power. As the first research facility to be built on the Montclair campus, the facility will house established and developing trans-disciplinary teams of researchers, accommodate strong industrial links, facilitate the education and training of students, and bring state-of-the-art facilities to all of these cohorts. SLAM brought expertise in design to specifically foster trans-disciplinary team research, where the Dean will allocate research space in the new building to teams made up of faculty from different disciplines. Typical research clusters will be “themed” and include wet bench and computational environments.
The building has been designed with labs to accommodate the diverse research teams to tackle today’s complex multidisciplinary research problems. The lab rooms have been designed with robust technology to aid in real-time computational needs and allow for in-lab research meetings to foster better communication amongst researchers. The teaching labs have been designed within the same footprint as the research space to allow for them to flex over time. This footprint provides ideal locations for informal and formal breakout spaces to help foster interaction among faculty and students.