Auburn University opens state-of-the-art college classroom and lab complex with start of fall semester


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As students returned to campus for a new academic year, thousands began the fall semester at a new facility designed to support Auburn’s commitment to elevating teaching and learning.

The University Classroom and Laboratory Complex, or ACLC, is a new 151,000 square foot facility adjacent to The Edge at Central Dining and the Auburn Amphitheater that includes adaptable classroom spaces, labs, relaxation and study, lecture halls and atriums and can accommodate up to 2,000 students at a time. The lower level of the building features a trio of spacious lecture halls that can accommodate 96, 200 and 300 students respectively, and faculty will have the ability to record and stream their lectures using the facility’s audio-visual technology.

Additionally, the facility’s labs are equipped with numerous workstations and preparatory lab spaces that include refrigeration units, HVAC systems, and safety showers. Designed as flexible teaching spaces, the rooms offer dual functionality as lab or classroom teaching areas.

With more than 30 total classrooms and labs available, ACLC ranks second to Haley Center in total classroom space on Auburn’s 2,100+ acre campus.

“The ACLC is a strategic investment in Auburn’s next-generation learning spaces and reflects our institution’s commitment to building for the future,” Acting Provost Vini Nathan said. “After years of planning and development, ACLC represents how technology and design can effectively facilitate innovation and collaboration, contributing to an exceptional experience for our students.”

ACLC will primarily be used by the College of Science and Mathematics, or COSAM, College of Humanities, College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts. The building also includes over 12,000 square feet of space for informal learning, study, and small group work for students.

“I saw the building go up last year and really liked the way they designed it,” said Matthew Hill, a second-year mechanical engineering student. “I think it’s very modern. I pass by here every morning, and I always look at it and I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s just amazing work there.’

“I really think Auburn does a great job of making sure all of their students are taken care of and have all the resources they need to be successful.”

The innovative facility is also the new home of the Biggio Center for Improving Teaching and Learning, a resource for Auburn faculty that “engages, supports and empowers the university’s academic community in every phase of the transformative learning process of university education”. Faculty members can use meeting and office space, relax and recharge in common areas, and work with Biggio Center staff and other colleagues to share innovative teaching and learning approaches .

“The ACLC showcases Auburn’s commitment to innovative, student-centered teaching and learning,” said Asim Ali, executive director of the Biggio Center. “By embracing the spaces’ unique features, such as moveable furniture, group seating, screen sharing, and glass panels, our faculty creates an engaging environment that leads to better learning outcomes.”

ACLC’s design incorporates sustainable elements throughout the building, including more than 22,000 board feet of heritage wood harvested from 21 pine trees removed from the site. Featured on the walls and ceilings of breakout and gathering spaces throughout the building, reclaimed wood can also be seen in large conference rooms.

“The technology is a lot more up to date here, and it just allows me to open a lot more windows than maybe I couldn’t have before,” said Heather Haskell, a math teacher who teaches at the facility. “It allows more students to come in and enjoy what Auburn has to offer.”

The three-story building is equipped with multiple elevators, is fully ADA compliant and accessible, and adds additional shelter from tornadoes and storms to the campus. With several sustainable features, ACLC pursues a silver level of certification with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification system. Construction of the building also coincided with the transformation of Graves Drive into a pedestrian concourse that helps establish a network of greenways/pedestrians that stretches from the Sportsplex at Lem Morrison Drive to the heart of campus.

“The ACLC is the key project of the Central Classroom Facility program, which began in 2011 with the goal of qualitatively improving outdated teaching spaces on campus,” said Brad Prater, an architect for the Auburn campus who was design project manager for CCLA. “The building is the culmination of over 10 years of work and adds to the growing body of knowledge surrounding 21st century learning and teaching facilities. The Auburn building increases the number of active learning classroom spaces on campus by 40%, furthering the university’s commitment to deep and engaged learning and student success. »

Construction of the ACLC was overseen by Auburn Facilities Management and is part of a strategic facility initiative dating back more than a decade that included the construction of the Mell-class building which is attached to the Ralph Brown Draughon Library. The momentum of this initiative will continue later this fall when the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center also opens.

President Christopher B. Roberts and other Auburn University leaders will be on hand for a grand opening of the ACLC on Friday, September 16, following the meeting of the Auburn Board of Trustees, and all members of the Auburn family are invited to attend.

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