Just a few short months ago, the Meteorology-Climatology Lab in 105 Bessey Hall looked like a typical computer lab: pods of computers surrounded by white boards in a basic room.
But thanks to a large investment from the College of Arts and Sciences and contributions from the university and Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, the lab is now a powerhouse of meteorology and climatology study.
There are 28 new computer work stations, up from the 17 computers held previously, with the customary white boards. The lab is flanked by a state-of-the-art interactive weather wall that features 12 screens, including four that have interactive touchscreen capabilities.
The $170,000 renovation was planned and overseen by faculty members Adam Houston and Clinton Rowe, who have been eager to renovate the lab for several years.
“We didn’t just want new computers,” Houston said. “We knew if we were really going to move forward as a department, we needed something we could use to recruit and ultimately, provide the best education for our students. We didn’t want to cut too many corners.”
The renovation began in June and was completed before the start of the fall semester. The lab was unveiled Sept. 26 with an open house, but students have already made use of the space and the new technology.
Rowe said having the new space will encourage students to interact.
“There are so many sources of information – everyone has a weather app on their phone – that they forget that probably some of the best information and learning happens when they talk about it among themselves,” Rowe said. “We hope that giving them a place where they can have interactivity on a scale that they can’t get anywhere else will promote their learning and talking about what they’re learning.”
Houston said the lab provides a showpiece for recruitment that the university can be proud of.
“The new lab says that we are looking out for our students and we’re giving them the opportunity to use equipment that not only helps them with their education, but with their ability to get out there in the workforce,” he said. “Here is a university that is able to educate you at a level that is identical to what these other places do but at a smaller, more intimate school where we know the students and the students know us.”