University of Maryland community members gathered Thursday for the new chemistry building’s dedication. The $132 million project is geared toward combining quantum chemistry, molecular nanoscience and sustainability research.

The 105,000-square-foot facility has 34 labs, according to a news release. It took about three years to construct and replace the old chemistry building’s wing 1, which was demolished ahead of the modernized space’s groundbreaking in August 2021.

The new building is located on Chemistry Lane and is adjacent to many engineering buildings.

Speakers at the event detailed how the building marks an investment in the department’s faculty, staff and students.

“This new paradigm will provide our students and faculty members with the tools and technologies they need to take their discoveries and innovations to the next level,” Amitabh Varshney, the computer, mathematical and natural sciences college’s dean, said. “All of these advances will improve our world and drive our economy.”

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University president Darryll Pines emphasized how the chemistry department now has more opportunities for innovation.

This university has produced Nobel Prize laureates and Rhodes scholars, and Pines said he wants that number to increase.

Pines is optimistic about the discoveries that will occur in the building. Along with breakthroughs in quantum materials chemistry and developing artificial intelligence to pinpoint candidates for drug development, he hopes to solidify the department’s place in the academic world.

“I dream one day that the next element in the periodic table will be discovered here,” Pines said.

The structure houses two shared research facilities with cutting-edge instruments as well as 13,000 square feet of collaboration space, according to a university news release. A 2,300-square-foot conference room with a high-definition screen offers a space for chemistry department faculty and students to participate in lectures, conferences and celebrations.

The building also features 12 meeting and huddle rooms where students can study, meet for group projects and defend theses.

Notable research projects for the new building include an HIV vaccine, energy and sustainability technologies and detecting ovarian cancer from blood samples, according to the news release.

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Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones said at the dedication event that the state legislature is dedicated to investing in transformative spaces on this university’s campus. She welcomes this university’s commitment towards the industry’s future, including in terms of diversity, she said.

“We are proud to see the University of Maryland focused on increasing the number of women in STEM fields and looking forward to seeing an ever-increasing number of women chemists,” Jones said. “We are proud this building will train the next generation of our nation’s top scientists.”

Jones presented Pines with a citation from the Maryland General Assembly to honor the occasion.

Janice Reutt-Robey, the chemistry and biochemistry department’s chair, said chemistry is known as the central science for its role in connecting the physical sciences, life sciences and engineering. It’s fitting for the building’s spot on campus.

“The location of this building is a hub between engineering, physics and biological sciences departments, representing the central role that we play at the university,” Reutt-Robey said.