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New Hub for Science Education and Research Opens at Bowie State University

BOWIE, MD – Bowie State University has opened a new Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing, designed to promote innovation in collaborative teaching and research, featuring one of the nation’s largest installations of dynamic glass that tints on-demand to create a comfortable, energy-efficient learning environment.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan joined state and local officials, science educators, and project partners to celebrate the opening of the $102-million, 149,000-square-foot center at a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center incorporates high-performance, sustainable design, aimed at achieving LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The center represents the university’s new approach to the instruction of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), replacing the outdated Crawford Science Building.

The two-year construction project was completed in partnership with Bowie State University, architect Perkins+Will and construction manager Clark Construction Group.

“I am proud that Bowie State University now has a state-of-the-art Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing that will inspire and attract top-notch students and faculty in the STEM fields,” says Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim. “This outstanding new facility will catalyze the university’s efforts to expand the use of collaborative, hands-on teaching models, and continue to position Bowie State University at the leading edge of innovation in STEM education and undergraduate research.”

Some distinctive elements include:

  • Portions of the exterior facade and the entire three-story cylindrical, multipurpose space called the Beacon that feature 25,000 square feet of dynamic glass, which tints on-demand to provide unobstructed access to outdoor views and significantly lower heating and cooling costs over time.
  • One of the nation’s most state-of-the-art nursing simulation centers that reflects the latest thinking in nursing education and enables students to hone their critical thinking and judgment skills, using lifelike computerized mannequins that simulate patients in hospital and clinical settings.
  • A fully enclosed greenhouse that will enable students and faculty working on plant sciences research to remain integrated with other science disciplines in the building.

“The design of this building reflects Perkins+Will approach to creating healthy, sustainable and inspiring environments for people to work and learn,” says Paul Harney, principal and senior project manager at Perkins+Will. “The Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing blends both the art and science of architecture to create an exciting campus hub that incorporates the most advanced thinking in science and nursing education and creates a beacon to attract and connect faculty and students today and for the future.”

Elevation of STEM Education and Research
Students preparing for careers in high-demand STEM fields will have the opportunity to learn in an open environment that elevates science and mathematics education and makes it more accessible for all. Glass-walled research laboratories and instructional spaces are designed to showcase teaching innovation and reveal science in action. Flexible classrooms enable students from different academic programs to learn together. Even the informal workspaces and lounges support additional learning opportunities.

The Perkins+Will team developed a creative branding program to differentiate BSU and establish a unique sense of place in the building. Inspired by patterns found in fractal geometry, African art and nature, colorful wall coverings create bold mosaic-like shapes that honor the three academic disciplines housed within the building.

The dynamic glazing provides students with a daylit environment, which research suggests helps them progress through curricula 20 to 26 percent faster.

The expanded research laboratory space will also enhance the university’s strategic efforts to integrate hands-on research opportunities into the undergraduate student experience. With the opening of the new building, Bowie State faculty will continue to introduce real-world research into the curriculum and advance innovative teaching practices in STEM education.

"There are certain projects that are highly notable in your career and the Bowie State CNSMN is definitely one of those,” says David Tacchetti, senior vice president at Clark Construction Group. “The building is very unique and complex. We are honored to have worked on the project and to have contributed in our own way to the learning environment for the bright young students of Bowie State.”

About Bowie State University
Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high-quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The university places special emphasis on the science, technology, teacher education, business, and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit