After more than a decade of work by Fort Lewis College (FLC) professors and administration, the Geosciences, Physics & Engineering (GPE) Hall opened for the Spring 2017 semester. Students now fill the halls, labs and classrooms of the $35 million facility, breathing life into a building quite unlike any other at FLC.
The GPE Hall is designed to be a place to work and learn by doing. It’s not a place to sit and listen to a lecture. The teaching technology is state-of-the-art, giving professors and students opportunities to collaborate in the learning process. Even the student study areas are designed to promote teamwork and discussion.
The research labs are outfitted with the latest, high-tech equipment, the kind most often found in large research universities. There are the telescopes atop the observatory deck where students will be helping the U.S. Air Force track space debris, among other projects. Rocks, sediments, fluids and other materials can be examined on multiple levels in the x-ray labs and with the new scanning electron microscope. On the new river table, students and professors can build their own landscapes and study erosion, floods, and flow rates. That’s just a small sample of what’s possible.
There is a melding of science and art in the new GPE Hall. The South Lobby Constellation Ceiling, made possible by FLC Alumni, sits overhead of the courtyard entrance. The stars depicted represent constellations with special importance to the area’s Native American tribes. Visitors entering the northeast doors are greeted by the beautiful Foucault Pendulum, a gift from Grace and Gustav Deltscheff, marking the rotation of the Earth. Past the pendulum stands the Wall of Time, a fascinating representation of the planet’s geologic history.
Fort Lewis College’s Geosciences and Physics & Engineering departments are among the College’s strongest and fast growing programs. Students graduating from these programs emerge having been instructed in smaller classes by expert faculty who focus on teaching, with the research experience often reserved for graduate students, all in a liberal arts environment that prepares students to think beyond their field of study and adapt to a future that promises accelerating change. The new Geosciences, Physics & Engineering Hall will bring these programs, and the students who study them, to new heights.
Please consider supporting our students with a donation to the GPE Hall Fund or consider one of these naming opportunities.
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