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Romberg Tiburon Center to increase laboratory space thanks to grant



Christina Holmes
SFSU Office of Public Affairs

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Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs

W.M. Keck Foundation awards $500,000 to University

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 2, 2002 - San Francisco State University's Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies has received a $500,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles to increase laboratory space for students and scientists. This is the first time SFSU has received an award from the foundation, which funds programs in the sciences, engineering and medical research at colleges and universities.

The lab will also serve as a classroom for students in several lab science courses. "It will be unlike any other classroom we have," said Alissa Arp, the center's director. "We have lecture halls, but we want to build a modern teaching laboratory."

Arp expects the lab will be finished by next fall. The new facility, with an additional 1,440 square feet of lab space and 18 modular workstations, will house twice as many students as the current lab, making it possible for almost 20 students to use the facility at one time.

"The entire class will be able to conduct experiments simultaneously, and do group exercises, where beforehand we had to split them up," she said. The extra space is important in science labs, where students often work in pairs or small groups. Arp said a regular class at the Center, such as this semester's 13-student biological oceanography class, would be able to take full advantage of the new lab.

The class, one of the Center's most popular, includes a field study portion, in which students go out on the Questuary, the boat run by the Center, and collect water samples from the Bay. The grant will then allow those students to analyze the samples in the lab.

The additional lab space is part of an overall multi-year, $8.2 million construction project to increase classroom space and perform seismic upgrades. The National Science Foundation and other organizations have also funded the project. Classes will continue in the building during construction.

The Romberg Center is home to 14 scientists, and more than 100 students enroll in classes each year in topics ranging from introduction to oceanography to the biology of algae. The Center serves as the University's marine field station and is the only research facility on the San Francisco Bay. Workshops are also available for teachers and residents of the Tiburon Peninsula are invited to take introductory environmental science courses.


Student Writer Clair A. McDevitt assisted in writing this press release.

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Last modified April 23, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs