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As students returned to campus for a new academic year, thousands began the fall semester in a new facility designed to support Auburn’s commitment to elevate teaching and learning.
The Academic Classroom and Laboratory Complex, or ACLC, is a new 151,000-square-foot facility adjacent to The Edge at Central Dining and Auburn Amphitheater that features adaptable classroom spaces, laboratories, relaxation and study areas, lecture halls and atriums and can accommodate . up to 2000 students at a time. The building’s lower level features a trio of spacious lecture halls with seating for 96, 200 and 300 students, respectively, and faculty will have the ability to record and broadcast their lectures using the facility’s audio-visual technology.
In addition, the facility’s laboratories are equipped with multiple workstations and lab prep spaces that include refrigeration units, HVAC systems, and safety showers. Designed as flexible learning spaces, the rooms offer dual functionality as lab or classroom learning areas.
With more than 30 total classrooms and labs available, ACLC is second only to the Haley Center in total classroom space on Auburn’s more than 2,100-acre campus.
“ACLC is a strategic investment in Auburn’s next-generation learning spaces and reflects our institution’s commitment to building for the future,” said Interim Provost Vini Nathan. “After years of planning and development, ACLC represents how technology and design can effectively facilitate innovation and collaboration, contributing to an exceptional experience for our students.”
ACLC will be used primarily by the College of Science and Mathematics, or COSAM, the College of Human Sciences, College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and College of Liberal Arts. The building also includes more than 12,000 square feet of space for informal learning, study and work for students.
“I saw the building go up last year and I really liked the way they designed it,” said Matthew Hill, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. “I think it’s very modern. I run here every morning, and I always look at it and think, ‘Wow, that’s just a great job right there.’
“I definitely think Auburn does a great job of making sure all of its students are taken care of and that they all have the resources they need to succeed.”
The groundbreaking facility is also the new home for the Biggio Center for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning, a resource for Auburn faculty that “engages, supports and empowers the university’s academic community at every stage of the transformative learning process of teaching.” Faculty members can use meeting and office spaces, rest and recharge in common areas, and work with Biggio Center staff and other colleagues to share innovative teaching and learning approaches.
“ACLC demonstrates Auburn’s commitment to student-centered and innovative teaching and learning,” said Asim Ali, executive director of the Biggio Center. “By embracing the unique features of the spaces, such as movable furniture, cluster seating, screen partitioning and glass tiles, our faculty are creating an engaging environment that leads to stronger learning outcomes.”
ACLC’s design incorporates sustainable elements throughout the building, including more than 22,000 feet of heritage wood harvested from 21 pine trees removed from the site. Featured in the walls and ceilings of isolation and gathering spaces throughout the building, reclaimed wood can also be seen in the large lecture halls.
“The technology is so much more up-to-date here, and it just allows me to open a lot of other windows that maybe I couldn’t have before,” said Heather Haskell, a math educator who teaches at the facility. “It allows more students to come in and take advantage of what Auburn has to offer.”
The three-story building is equipped with multiple elevators, is fully ADA compliant and accessible, and adds an additional tornado and storm shelter to the campus. With several sustainable features, ACLC is pursuing a silver certification level with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification system. The building’s construction also coincided with the transformation of Graves Drive into a pedestrian concourse that helps create a greenway/pedway network that extends from the Sportsplex off Lem Morrison Drive into the heart of campus.
“The ACLC is the flagship project of the Central Classroom Facility Program, which began in 2011 with the goal of upgrading aging teaching spaces on campus,” said Brad Prater, an Auburn campus architect who served as the design project manager for ACLC. “The building is the culmination of more than 10 years of work and adds to the growing body of knowledge surrounding 21st century teaching and learning facilities. Auburn’s building increases the amount of active classroom learning space on campus by 40%, reinforcing the university’s commitment to deep, engaged learning and student success.”
Construction of the ACLC was overseen by Auburn Facilities Management and is part of a strategic facility initiative that dates back more than a decade that included the construction of the Mell Classroom Building attached to the Ralph Brown Draughon Library. The momentum of this initiative will continue later this fall when the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center also opens.
President Christopher B. Roberts and other Auburn University leaders will be on hand for an official opening of the ACLC on Friday, September 16, following the Auburn Board of Trustees meeting, and all members of the Auburn Family are invited to attend .