Building Features

The building’s two wings are joined at each of its four floors by an alluring connector that is windowed along its southern exposure and encircles the newly formed science enclave outside. It is along the glass-enclosed path that built-in displays of optical phenomena, the natural environment, nanotechnology, geological formations, biological specimens, and astronomical observations will be interspersed among sun-filled lounges, all to advance interaction among the different scientific disciplines.

Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies

Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies

The Werth Center provides a means for faculty and students from throughout the Connecticut State University system to participate in collaborative and interdisciplinary research and education projects focused on coastal and marine research and education. Because Southern is centrally located along the heavily urbanized Connecticut coastline proximate to a variety of diverse natural habitats, the Center is ideally situated for research and education focused on the pressures of human development and the need for the preservation of these natural habitats. Located on the building’s main floor, the Center offers direct access to the field work room from the outside to unload equipment and properly preserve sediments, marine life, and microorganisms collected from the Sound. The Center also features several new labs, including an analytic lab and a sediment coastal science lab.

Long Island Sound

Open and Coastal Marine Aquaria

The Werth Center’s two aquariums are home to species found in Long Island Sound — one reflects open water, while the other showcases coastal species. The open-water aquarium holds approximately 2,000 gallons of water and will be home to striped bass. The near-shore aquarium contains about 1,800 gallons of water and will house blackfish and scup — common Long Island shore species. The aquarium lighting system can simulate most weather conditions, including sunshine, clouds, and thunderstorms with lightning.

Interactive Touch Pool

Interactive Touch Pool

When marine life and microorganisms are brought back to the Center, the interactive touch pool will offer a mid-stop for interfacing with the various aquatic species. The pool will also provide a unique hands-on opportunity for students touring and visiting the center as part of our collaborative science education partnership with Greater New Haven schools.

One of the strongest aspects of a Southern education is the opportunity for our students to engage in cutting-edge research through direct interaction with their faculty mentors. - Dr. Mary A. Papazian, president

CSCU Center for Nanotechnology

The Center for Nanotechnology fosters collaborative, interdisciplinary research and educational initiatives/programs in micro- and nanotechnology with the goal of enhancing Connecticut’s workforce competitiveness in nanotechnology and materials science. The center builds upon existing collaborations with Yale University, the University of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Community Colleges to create programs enhancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) and beyond. For Southern, the center is the primary resource for our nanotechnology graduate certificate, applied physics master’s program, and the nanotechnology/materials science track, as well as an array of research opportunities and professional development for students and faculty. Center instrumentation and programs are partially funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE).



Rising from the ground floor to the ceiling, this dramatically lit sculpture evokes a nanotube — a nanometer-scale (billionths of a meter), tube-like structure -highlighting the ‘front door’ to the university on Fitch Street.

Curtain wall

Curtain Wall

The Fitch Street entrance is braced by a structural horizontal beam called a curtain wall. Reminiscent of a whale vertebrate or bike chain, the wall provides support to the building during periods of high winds.

Southern is committed to increasing its graduation rate in STEM degrees by 35% and STEM teachers with initial certification by 25%.

Astronomy Control Room

The astronomy control room provides clear views of the heavens — despite atmospheric blurring and light pollution in the area. Telescopes positioned on the roof pipe down data to viewing screens located around the circumference of the room. Using techniques being developed by Elliott Horch, faculty member in the Department of Physics, the telescopes can be simultaneously trained on the same object. The resulting images are then linked to a computer and ultimately provide clear views. The center dome, with built-in skylight, shows a regular view of the skies.

Astronomy Room
Rock wall

Rock Wall

More than 150 large rock samples from three regions in Connecticut were used to create this rock wall, an educational display used to teach Connecticut’s geologic history. Unique among universities in the northeast — the wall consists of rock samples that were collected as part of the senior theses project for Lee Gilden, ’15, Mario Turriago, ’15, and James Bogart, ’16, who were supervised by Thomas Fleming and Michael Knell, faculty members in the Department of Earth Science.

Rail images

Rail Images

In a stunning display of color, 107 scientific images are integrated into the building’s railings, reflecting the facility’s interdisciplinary scientific focus. They are slightly translucent to let in natural light.

Map Wall

Approximately 300 satellite images were stitched together to create this large-scale regional map that visually connects the building’s various levels and inspires visitors to pause to look for their favorite locations. Mock asteroids artistically reference one scientific theory — that water traveled to Earth on asteroids.

Geography Wall
Study spaces

Study Spaces

Providing ample common space that facilitates interdisciplinary, multi-level research collaboration between faculty and students was a major focal point in the building design.

Additional Features

  • expanded wings for earth science, environmental studies, biology, chemistry, and physics teaching and research laboratories
  • a high performance computing laboratory for research in theoretical science, bioinformatics, and computer science
  • a village walkway on the ground, second, and third floors to encourage student/faculty interactions and provide sunlight throughout the building
  • scientific displays throughout, illustrating the research interests of faculty and the students
  • connections to the existing science building, Jennings Hall, at the lower, ground, and upper levels
  • faculty garden, which will add to the campus’ sustainability focus
  • two 50-seat classrooms, conference space, and student study areas
  • three ammonites, estimated at 165 million years of age, displayed throughout the building on polished stainless steel disks allowing the viewer to see all sides of the specimens and adding a historical element to the building’s interdisciplinary theme
  • an analytical instrumentation laboratory to prepare students for employment in the chemical and pharmacological industries as well as graduate programs and medical professions