Champlin grant to revitalize labs in Clarke Science Building

The John Clarke Science Building at Rhode Island College.
Rhode Island College was awarded a $257,100 grant for renovations to the Clarke Science Building by the Champlin Foundations. It was the third largest grant given to an educational institution as a part of the foundation’s 2010 grant awards.

The capital improvement grant will be spent on two main projects – renovations and new equipment for RIC’s organic chemistry and biochemistry labs. The result will be a state-of-the-art facility for biology, chemistry and pre-med students.

The main renovation will occur in the organic chemistry lab. The existing lab was built in 1963 and last renovated in 1987. The room is showing its age and wearing out, according to James Magyar, RIC professor of chemistry. The grant will fund new lab benches, utilities, more hood space, new safety features, storeroom layout and added space for computers.

The lab will be used for courses taken by all RIC biology and chemistry majors, who number in the hundreds.

Roughly $50,000 of the grant will be spent on specialized equipment for courses related to the new biochemistry concentration and minor renovations to the biochemistry lab.

“Top quality equipment for education benefits not only the students of Rhode Island but Rhode Island as a whole,” said Keith Lang, executive director of the Champlin Foundations.

The Champlin Foundations provide grants to nonprofit organizations for capital improvements and focus on assisting organizations that have positive effects on the broadest population in the state of Rhode Island. Since 1932 the foundations have given over $440 million to benefit the state.

“State institutions provide affordable education but we feel there should not be such a wide disparity between the quality of education offered in comparison to private institutions. Allocations like the 2010 Rhode Island College award are one way we can help to bridge the gap between the two," said Lang.

Noting the Champlin Foundations support of science at RIC, Magyar, said, “They have had a very big impact over recent years.”

“The Champlin Foundations grants have made possible changes in teaching through changes in capital,” added Magyar. “It allows for integration of activity and lecture through changes in layout, technology and science equipment.”

The renovations are to be completed over the summer, ready for the fall 2011 semester.