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Ribbon cutting ceremony of the opening of Science Center West on the second floor pedestrian bridge. From left to right: Dr. Sanjay K. Rai, Senior VP for Academic affairs at MC, The Honorable Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive, Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, President of MC, The Honorable Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Council President.

Montgomery College Science West Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony


Montgomery College has made another milestone in construction with the grand opening of Science Center West.

The 68,300 square feet building includes computer labs, a 100 seat, tiered lecture hall, a math emporium, eight classrooms, and ten math labs. It also includes open study/group study areas, informal gathering/study spaces scattered throughout the building, and the Dr. Judy E. Ackerman STEM learning center, named and dedicated after former Vice President and Provost of MC.

Science Center West two-story pedestrian bridge that connects to the rest of the Science Center (photo: Sara Monterroso)

“I think this an exciting manifestation of key partnerships:our faculty that advocated for the space that students needed, our students who told us the space they needed and our county elected officials and state elected officials who said ‘we’ll invest in it’,” said Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President of Montgomery College.

Benefactors, professors, and overall advocates of success and education, joined Pollard and Dr. Kimberely B. Kelley, MC’s Vice President and Provost, in the ribbon cutting ceremony of the opening of the Science Center West on Feb. 16.

The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on the pedestrian bridge that connects the rest of the Science Center with Science Center West.

The ribbon getting snipped by Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President of Montgomery College (photo: Sara Monterroso)


Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive, and Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Council President, also celebrated with Montgomery College in the ceremony noting that “[Montgomery County] recognizes the importance of [MC], in a community that is highly educated and values the contributions [MC] makes,” said Leggett

Berliner stated, “We know that a 21st-century community college, serving the needs of a 21st century Montgomery County, requires 21st-century learning facilities.”

Students have already begun utilizing the 21st-century learning facility, as the building opened late January. After the opening on Jan. 30, Science Center West was “swamped with students,” said Carol Burbage, the Director of the Ackerman STEM learning Center.

“I like that there are tables, work benches, and desks everywhere. I spend a lot of time here. If you get here early or in between classes, there’s always space for you to work and study,” said Austin Ager,a student at MC. Ager has spent every day before class working and studying in Science Center West since the opening.

Dion Derricott and Jennifer Pineda going over floor plans for class at
Science Center West (photo: Sara Monterroso)

Pollard mentions she wishes she had a space like this when she was in college. “This really was about creating a space where students feel they can be successful…it was well overdue,” she said.

According to Burbage, they were initially concerned with the possible lack of use of the six group study areas in the Ackerman Center, as seen before in similar study areas in the Macklin Tower library.

Burbage was prepared to entice students with table tents (that encloses the study spaces around individuals) on the study tables that the TP/SS campus used to reel students in. Though, she   didn’t see the need when as of week of Feb. 5, 134 reservations were made to use the learning center group study areas. 207 reservations have been made as of Feb. 15.

The design of the Science Center West is credited to Cho Benn Holback & Associates of Stantec Architecture where they”[…]worked closely with the college faculty who provided expert advice on what today’s science and engineering majors need to succeed,” said Paul Pohlod, Senior Principal at Stantec, on Stantec’s project summaries.

Senior Project Manager of Central Facilities, Peter J.Hanley guided the group on a digital tour of the 8-year renovation project. Not only is the building optimal for education purposes, Hanley also pointed out that it was renovated with green, sustainable construction.

Science Center West is open for use. More information about Rockville Campus’s Science Center can be found here.



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