The Center for Chemical & Forensic Sciences at URI is Officially Complete

On September 6, 2016, the University of Rhode Island hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new $68M Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences. The 132,000 GSF Center houses chemistry research and teaching, 172 fume hoods with dedicated exhaust, and two classrooms (95- and 240-seat) each outfitted with a demonstration fume hood that is set up to project the experiment to the students.

The Center is a big improvement over the original chemistry building, Pastore Hall, where Richard Beaupre took his chemistry classes at URI. The four-story building has triple the amount of space for teaching labs and nearly double the space for research labs as Pastore. The Center’s state-of-the-art capabilities will allow faculty to compete more effectively for research grants, and to rapidly move scientific discoveries into the marketplace.

Mr. Beaupre’s history with URI was intriguing. After graduating from URI he went on to become an inventor, entrepreneur and founder of ChemArt – a local RI-based company. This all stemming from the education he received from the University. During the ceremonies, Beaupre expressed his gratitude for the honor and issued a challenge to current URI students. “Gov. Raimondo recently suggested that we need to keep our Rhode Island graduates in in the state, and that is what I have done with more than 150 full-time employees at my business [ChemArt] in Lincoln. I am proud to be a Rhode Islander and a supporter of economic development.”

As an architect on the project, I spent considerable time designing, coordinating, and on-site reviewing drawings to ensure our design intent was carried through construction. At the ceremony it was rewarding to witness students using the space as it was meant to be. During design, we had planned for the lobbies to accommodate a large number of students – and those spaces were lively and well utilized. However, a space that was surprisingly active was the vending area at the mezzanine level. We had determined there was a need for vending machines and soft collaborative seating during design. We provided this privatized space within the connector to the adjacent Chafee Hall.

It was also good to see that some of the less glamourous program elements were functioning well. A lot of storage space is required to equip the students with the necessary tools to do their experiments and coursework; the general, chemical and bulk storage were well utilized. Additionally, there is a tremendous amount of state-of-the-art A/V in the facility. Tim Wasco, noted that this building is 100 times better than Pastore Hall – everything works, and makes his job easier to manage.

After being on-site weekly for the past 24 months I left the event and campus that day with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. I know that this building will effectively serve generations of URI students.

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