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Lewis Lab Expansion Builds on Existing Advantage

August 2013

St. Ambrose students frequently comment on the benefit of having access to learning opportunities in the human gross anatomy laboratories in Lewis Hall.

This academic year, students are finding more of a good thing, thanks to updated lab facilities in the building's lower level.

There, an existing lab has been expanded by 320 square feet, fitted with large-screen, wall-mounted monitors, and painted with state-of-the-art urethane-based white paint that allows an entire length of the lab's south wall to serve as an expansive whiteboard.

An additional lab also has been created from what formerly was a classroom across the hall, providing another 1,000 square feet of new laboratory space. A smaller lab centered between the two rooms at the west end has been converted from a small animal anatomy lab into additional human gross anatomy space.

The expansion will provide undergraduate science students and graduate health sciences students access to a total of 10 cadavers, up two from previous years, said Brenda Peters, PhD, professor of biology. The additional space also will help accommodate the anticipated arrival of the first Master of Physician Assistant Studies cohort in the summer of 2014.

The technology updates will allow students to view textbook manual pages on the large-screen monitors, rather than referring to open books during experimentation. The new technology was funded through a grant provided by the Scott County Regional Authority.

Peters said the expanded whiteboard space will allow professors to diagram long-term lesson plans without needing to erase for those teaching classes after them.

Biology Professor Kirk Kelley, PhD, said grants from sources like the SCRA are essential to providing St. Ambrose students the best possible tools to make the most of their educational experience.

He said cadaver donors also are essential to an SAU health science education, emphasizing that such generosity demands a special manner of care, privacy and respect. (Pictures accompanying this article were taken before cadavers were delivered to the labs for use during this academic year.)

The lower level remodeling was completed over the course of the summer and continues an ongoing effort to update Lewis Hall, which originally opened in 1930 as the fourth building on the St. Ambrose campus.

View pictures of a renovated laboratory on Flickr.

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