Resources & Facilities

The Department of Biology is housed in the Hoyt Science Resources Center, a modern building that is well equipped to provide contemporary educational experiences in biology and the other sciences. The Hoyt Science Resources Center is also home to the Departments of Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics, and Psychology as well as the Mack Science Library and the Westminster Computer Center. The building includes six lecture rooms, three smart classrooms, three computer laboratories, an auditorium, a planetarium, and four seminar/conference rooms.

An important part of the educational venture in biology at Westminster is the opportunity for students to have hands-on laboratory experience with up-to-date equipment. For this purpose, the Department of Biology contains specialized labs and rooms for electron microscopy, histology, culture of microorganisms/cells/tissues, molecular genetics, biological rhythms, low temperature studies, small animal surgery, photography, and biological illustration. The department also has a museum/herbarium, a darkroom, a computer room, a controlled plant growth room, and environmental chambers. Two greenhouses and an animal housing suite with specialized rooms for maintaining small mammals, aquatic organisms, reptiles, amphibians, and insects also support the program. The department contains sophisticated equipment unique for colleges the size of Westminster: Zeiss 109 transmission electron microscope, JEOL 35-CF scanning electron microscope, Perkin-Elmer PCR thermocycler, IEC cryostat/microtome, fluorescence microscope, inverted microscope, refrigerated high-speed centrifuges, carbon dioxide incubator, laminar flow tissue culture chamber, ultra-low temperature freezer, and refrigerated marine aquarium

The department has seven teaching laboratories, each fully equipped to instruct up to twenty students in settings designed for individualized instruction. Two student project labs and six faculty/student research rooms allow for on-going investigations, independent study, and honors research.

In addition to the fine facilities in the Hoyt Science Resources Center, the Department of Biology includes the 40 acre Outdoor Laboratory, for Biological and Environmental Science, the 15 acre Brittain Lake, and the 40 acre College Woods. The Outdoor Laboratory which is appropriated specifically for field biology studies, includes a year-round weather station, several buildings including a Nature Center/Classroom, the Lucille Beerbower-Frey Nature Trail, lowland thicket, pasture, arboretum, successional and experimental plots, marsh, spring-fed stream, and the Little Neshannock Creek. Brittain Lake, named in honor of J. Frank Brittain, is used for ecology and limnology field classes. The College Woods is a beech-maple forested area used for field studies requiring a mature woodland. It includes a recreational walking trail.