Justice Department Appropriation Will Benefit Science Instruction at Keene State
Keene State College’s science curriculum - and its new Science Center - stand to benefit from $1.4 million in new funding the College will receive from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The $1.4 million was part of a $2-million appropriation secured by U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) for Keene State and the University of New Hampshire to create a statewide public safety management system. The system will help police and fire personnel know whether the site of an emergency contains dangerous hazardous materials.
Of the funds earmarked for Keene State, $500,000 is for equipment in the Science Center that will be used to fulfill the grant’s other instructional purposes. The half-million-dollar equipment allocation brings KSC’s capital campaign for the Science Center to within $25,000 of its $4-million total.
About $385,000 will contribute to state-of-the-art video-conferencing technology that will enable Keene State faculty to teach courses to emergency first-responders and other students in sites around the state. Six technology laboratories and five classrooms will eventually be outfitted with distance- learning capabilities. The remaining $115,000 will be used to purchase analytical equipment, such as a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer and an atomic absorption spectrophotometer, which will enable students to identify and analyze substances present in chemical and biological hazards.
The purchase of the new equipment will greatly enhance the teaching of the sciences at Keene State, said Gordon Leversee, dean of sciences and social sciences. “In designing the new Science Center, we wanted a facility that would enable faculty and students to work together on complex research projects and that would bring hands-on learning into the classrooms,” Leversee explained. “The new analytical equipment enhances our capability in the teaching of chemistry and biology in particular. The video-conferencing facilities will allow us to take our teaching beyond our walls and into local and state-wide communities. The College thanks Senator Gregg for his support of this important project.”
Four pilot sites in New Hampshire will be used during the development and testing phases of the public safety management system, which is anticipated to last 12 to 18 months. The system is expected to be online and available nationally within two years.
The first $19-million for the facility - the most ambitious construction project in KSC history - has been funded by the state legislature through KEEP-NH, the University System of New Hampshire’s Knowledge-Economy Education Project. The goal of the capital campaign is to raise the remainder of the costs before the end of October.