East Mississippi Community College science instructor Dr. Robert Shinn, at left, teaches out of the newly remodeled science lab on the college’s Scooba campus.

August 28, 2019

Major renovation to a science lab on East Mississippi Community College’s Scooba campus is making it easier for students to learn inside and outside the classroom.

Room 18 in the Oktibbeha Hall Math & Science Building has been updated and now includes combination desks and sink work stations, an eyewash station and shower, and an interactive Smart Board that, among other things, allows the instructor to project live microscope and slide images on the screen.

“The Smart Board records everything so students who were not in class can log onto Canvas and have access to any slides or other images taught that day,” EMCC Math and Science Scooba Campus Division Chair Jairus Johnson said. “The instructor can write down notes, capture them on the Smart Board and make them available to students outside of the classroom. We have never had that capability before.”

Science instructor Dr. Robert Shinn will teach Anatomy and Physiology I & II, and General Biology I & II out of the lab, which will occasionally be used for Principles of Biology I & II classes.

The renovation also includes new fume hoods to remove odors during dissections and a refrigerator to store specimens. The combination desks and lab sinks make it possible to teach both the science classes and labs out of the same room. Prior to the renovation, students attended lectures in one classroom and their lab assignments were completed later in a different room.

“What’s pretty neat about that is when Dr. Shinn is doing a lecture, he now has the capability to include lab experiments or other hands-on work at the same time,” Johnson said. The remodeled science lab in Oktibbeha Hall Math & Science Building on the Scooba campus includes new combination desks and lab sinks and is equipped with the latest technology.

The old lab was in bad shape and many students could not see the projector because of the way the room was laid out, Johnson said.

Work for the project began last fall and was performed by EMCC’s Physical Plant employees. They ripped the old concrete floor out to install new plumbing for the lab sinks and poured new concrete. They also installed the desks and lab sinks purchased from Sheldon Laboratory Systems LLC.

“Our Physical Plant guys really did a good job and deserve credit for all the work that was put into the project,” Johnson said.

The lab renovation has been in the department’s long-range plans for some time and meets four institutional objectives of promoting student success, providing proper facilities and equipment, maintaining up-to-date technology and equipment, and expanding student access to new technologies.

“This project took care of all four of those objectives,” Johnson said. “This was not about just trying to make it look pretty. It was about achieving a goal. Now it is a great space for student learning.”

EMCC Associate Dean of Instruction James Rush said this is the second major instructional department renovation on the Scooba campus over the past two years.

“In 2017, we completed renovations of three office spaces that were turned back to classroom space in Stennis Hall,” Rush said. “Our mission is to make sure our classrooms are conducive to learning and when we are able to add items to increase student success we are happy to do so. The Smart Board is the second of its kind added to the Scooba campus. We are already making plans to remodel the microbiology lab in the Oktibbeha Math & Science Building.”