NAU-Yuma opens new research and education building

building exterior
building exterior
The new Dr. James R. Carruthers Research and Education building in Yuma. Photos courtesy of Arizona Western College

Northern Arizona University will celebrate the grand opening of its research and education building located on the NAU-Yuma branch campus beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, March 27.

Tours of the new Dr. James R. Carruthers Research and Education building and demonstrations of student research projects will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. A press conference featuring NAU President John Haeger and representatives from the Arizona Board of Regents will begin at 3.

“This building is evidence of the state’s commitment to helping the universities build their research contributions,” Haeger said. “This important educational effort will not only help Yuma-area students but also will help diversify the state’s economy.”

Located on the campus of Arizona Western College where NAU and AWC have a longtime partnership, the building is dedicated to former state Rep. James Carruthers for his support in adding NAU as one of the recipients of funding from 2003 legislation for university research infrastructure projects. Carruthers also is former AWC president.

McLendon will be attending the ceremony as will Ernest Calderón, vice president of the Arizona Board of Regents, Joel Sideman, ABOR’s executive director, and Don Schoening, president of Arizona Western College.“This is a fitting recognition of the efforts of Jim Carruthers in the Arizona Legislature on behalf of the people of southwestern Arizona,” said Regent Bob McLendon, a Yuma resident and former state legislator. “I salute my friend and colleague for working in a bipartisan manner to further the educational needs of the people of Arizona.”

building exteriorThe facility was opened to students and faculty for the spring 2009 semester and features 12,225 square feet of instructional and research lab space. The space includes a classroom, a Geographic Information System lab, a natural history lab, an ecology lab, a molecular technology lab as well as other research support spaces and offices.

The rooms support NAU biology and environmental science faculty and students as they conduct research in areas that include Sonoran Desert ecology, botany, cellular and molecular biology and human physiology. The building also will house advanced technologic equipment, including a DNA sequencer and a polymerase chain reaction cabinet, which are used to conduct cellular and molecular research.

The science and education building’s opening comes at the same time the Yuma campus was awarded a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help incoming science students.

“This building represents what can happen when our community and educational leaders come together in an effort to meet the needs of both students and research,” said Larry Gould, chief executive officer of NAU-Yuma. “This, along with the $600,000 grant received by NAU-Yuma for student scholarships, are indicative of the great leap forward the sciences have taken in the Lower Colorado River Region.”

The NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics grant will provide scholarships to two cohorts of 15 to 25 students. Scholarship recipients can receive financial aid worth up to $10,000 a year for two years.