Bio research labs updated

While all eyes have been focused on the renovation and opening
of the Busch Student Center, a lesser-known renovation also took
place over the summer, enhancing research facilities for students
at Saint Louis University.

Macelwane Hall, home to the department of biology and the
department of Earth and atmospheric Sciences, underwent more than
$1 million in renovations to accommodate state-of-the-art research
labs and current technology.

According to Richard Mayden, Ph.D., chair of the biology
department, the building has been in desperate need of attention
for years.

“The faculty offices were outdated, biology and Earth and
atmospheric sciences lacked sufficient laboratory and office space
for faculty, teaching laboratories needed upgrading, and there were
environmental issues that concerned me,” Mayden said. “This is a
much-needed and first-rate renovation project of an important
building for SLU faculty, staff and students.”

Mayden said that he was initially attracted to SLU because of
its worldwide reputation and its biology department, and the great
support for moving the department forward in the coming years. To
accomplish this, however, a renovation would be necessary to “bring
the whole building up to the expectations of our students and the
needs of faculty and administration,” he said.

“The faculty in the department of biology works with the largest
number of majors in a program at SLU and generates a substantial
amount of the research funding on the Frost Campus,” Mayden said.
“In order to continue to provide high-quality service and education
for students, engage students in active, hands-on research
experiences, and offer faculty the necessary competitive edge in
acquiring funding for sponsored research through federal and state
agencies, it was critical that we begin a campaign to revitalize

The renovations include six new laboratories for faculty and
students, a core departmental research suite, a virtual
classroom/laboratory, renovation of five faculty offices,
development of three student areas, renovated office area and an
improved environment for the building.

In addition, Macelwane received upgrades in ductwork and
temperature control, an emergency backup generator that will
support critical areas and pieces of equipment, a vacuum system,
laboratory-grade water necessary for experiments and new wiring to
replace out-of-date technology.

While the Earth and atmospheric sciences department did not
directly see any renovations, it will benefit from the increased
technology in the building.

“The renovation went very well,” said Greg King, project
coordinator in Facilities Services. “The department was great in
keeping communication open. I think we kept up with their

“It is clear that the students will benefit in many ways
associated from state-of-the-art research laboratories, will enjoy
a better and safer working environment in Macelwane, and will be
able to participate in classes and research experiences in
contemporary facilities,” Mayden said.