UWM opens new School of Freshwater Sciences

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee opened its state-of-the-art School of Freshwater Sciences building last week with a dedication and celebration on Friday that drew more than 600 people.

 

The new building, which has been under construction for about two years, is now home to the school’s multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research initiatives surrounding freshwater.

“The new (building) will enable us to use the best equipment in the best environment,” David Garman, Ph.D., dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences, told Biztimes in an interview last month.

According to Garman, the school’s old complex, a 40-year-old facility that previously housed the Great Lakes Water Institute, was “unsuitable” for the school’s state-of-the-art research – void of adequate resources, space, clean labs and proper exhaust fumes.

While the school’s faculty have been spearheading quality research, Garman compared their efforts working “with one hand tied behind your back.”

Still, the old facility, adjacent to the new building, will continue to be used with square footage for research labs, boat operations, and aquaculture research and training, among other workspace.

The new site and its updated amenities will “enable us to take our research to the next stage,” Garman said.

Among the new facility’s most innovative features is its top-flight research equipment, including next-generation sequencing machines for the genomic laboratory, new trace and ultra-trace analytic devices for metals and organic compounds, and new high-security biological examination laboratories. The site also contains innovative student laboratories and teaching laboratories – the first of their kind for the school.

Garman said another significant advantage of the new space is the collaborative nature of its infrastructure.

“And I suppose the greatest benefit that we are actually going to get out of this is that we’ll have all the researchers in areas so that they can interact, be truly multidisciplinary, and create a culture of innovation and cutting edge research, which was very difficult in the old building,” he said.

“So the people aspect is almost just as important as the equipment aspect,” Garman said.

Along with celebrating its opening on Friday night, the school welcomed about 1,000 community members on Saturday for public tours and science demonstrations.

To view a photo gallery of the new facility, check out BizTimes’ Around Town gallery.

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