The summer months are a busy season for Merrimack College’s Facilities Department. With students away, the team uses the time to tackle new construction and renovation projects across the campus. In just the past few months, Facilities has undertaken more than 20 projects from building new labs to campus dining renovations to residence hall maintenance.
“Our department has been hard at work this summer not only preparing campus for the new academic year, but also continuing the transformation of classrooms, labs and community spaces to support the expansion of teaching, learning and the student experience for years to come,” said Felipe Schwarz, vice president for capital planning and facilities.
When students return to campus for the fall 2023 semester, they will see several new and innovative spaces that aim to enhance the resources and capacity of Merrimack’s efforts in academics, research, mission and campus experience.
Guided by the College’s strategic plan, the Agenda for the Future (AFF), Merrimack is making significant investments in campus planning, space and renovations to best meet the evolving ways students learn and live, faculty teach and conduct research and how the campus community comes together.
As part of the College’s realignment of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Computational Sciences, now housed at 510 & 530 Turnpike St., a 7,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art shared instrumentation facility will soon open on the first floor of Palmisano Hall.
An incubator for research and collaboration in the life and health sciences, the shared instrumentation facility will give faculty and student research assistants a designated area and instruments to conduct experiments and projects to help answer critical research questions.
“It is going to be a focal point of the region’s research ecosystem,” said Jimmy Franco, interim associate dean in the School of Arts and Sciences. “It is going to enhance the capacity for research at Merrimack and we are going to be a place where people will want to come to do research, collaborate and discover.”
When designing the shared instrumentation facility, Associate Vice Provost of Research April Bowling noted it needed to be a flexible and collaborative space to accommodate different types of research in chemistry, cell biology and molecular biology.
“Across life and health sciences, you rarely see research done by one person anymore,” Bowling added. “Advances in the field take expertise from a variety of disciplines, and the shared instrumentation facility gives our faculty a space to work together. It will also be accessible to Merrimack students who will work with faculty and be able to use the instruments as part of larger research projects.”
The shared instrumentation facility is slated to open in the fall.
The St. Augustine Center for Service and Formation houses the Stevens Service Learning Center and the Austin Scholars, while the on-campus office of Hands to Help and the Grace J. Palmisano Center for Campus Ministry are in the Sanctuary.
“In these spaces, students, faculty and staff can be connected to engage in service to our surrounding communities and neighbors, as well as opportunities for spiritual growth and development,” said Fr. Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A., vice president for mission and ministry.
When it comes to dining, the Merrimack community can also enjoy the offerings at the newly renovated Warrior’s Den. The modernized experience and updated menu elevate this campus dining staple. Within the Den, hot and cold sandwiches are available at SubConnection, while natural! provides smoothies, acai bowls, pastries and natural juices.
For grab-and-go selections on campus, check out Mack Mart in McQuade Library. Items include ice cream, assorted beverages, salads, sandwiches and snacks. And soon Mack Mart East will be open in the School of Science and Engineering.