McCourtney Hall provides new home for research
Rachel O'Grady | Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Notre Dame’s newest research facility, McCourtney Hall of Molecular Sciences and Engineering, opened its doors to the public Monday afternoon for an open house and tours.
Facilities program director Martinez Cobb said he was extremely excited about the opening of the new building.
“We started really moving in around June, but there’s been a lot of work that’s gone into getting this place ready for everyone working here,” Cobb said. “Our actual open date was closer to when classes started, so somewhere around [Aug. 28].”
Cobb said the four-story building is an incredible addition to campus.
“The building itself is beautiful,” he said. “The exterior is great because it’s still that collegiate gothic look. But if you look inside the building, as you see, it’s more kind of industrial, it kind of gives you that research laboratory feel. But it still has that prestigious look of Notre Dame.”
The building is currently filled to about 60 percent occupancy, Cobb said, with the other 40 percent currently available as more “shell space.”
“We’re still trying to build out some more lab spaces,” he said. “We’re actually working on two lab build-outs right now, as we speak.”
The new offices are set to host Matthew Webber, an associate professor in chemical and bimolecular engineering, and Merlin Bruening, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Cobb said.
“They’re research faculty, and I’m just excited they — and all the researchers — are here utilizing the building,” he said.
The building houses a number of innovative features, Cobb said.
“We have a lot of different things that make it unique, such as our lab systems,” he said. “We have in-house nitrogen, which is pumped right into these labs, which means these labs can use a lot of nitrogen — which is terrific. We also have in-house liquid nitrogen, which means we have a fill station that can be used for faculty researchers to fill up their nitrogen doors to help with their research.”
Additionally, the building boasts a number of common spaces and a small cafe area.
“We have a cafe that is great for a common area, it’s great for people to have lunch and just congregate,” Cobb said. “It’s really just conducive to great collaboration.”
For the time being, Cobb said the building is only being utilized by graduate students and faculty.
“That said, we have conference rooms available for reservations, and we have a seminar room on the lower level that seats about 60 people,” he said. “In that room, we have three projectors, lots of audio and visual materials and actually a capability to record a conference in that room. So it’s really great.”
Cobb said he appreciates the variety of projects taking place in the building.
“I mean, there are just so many things going on, so many projects, because it’s an interdisciplinary building,” he said. “On the lower level, we have the mass spectrometry lab, which is great for analyzing molecules and ions. We just have a lot of different things going on.”