R. Joe Dennis Learning Center Laboratory Renovation

Bellevue University Teaching Lab

R. Joe Dennis Learning Center Laboratory Renovation

Equipped for the Future of Science

When Bellevue University decided to renovate the labs within the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center, the university president encouraged the three professors at the helm of the science department to dream big. Accommodation for new equipment and technologies; opportunities to integrate research, teaching and extra-curricular activities more seamlessly; and a design that puts “science on display” making science and research more engaging, accessible and fun for students across campus were among their highest priorities.

The design team took on the challenge of completing the design and issuing bidding documents in time for the contractor to begin in mid-May and complete by mid-August the same year in order to open in time for the fall semester. What resulted are state-of-the-art modern teaching laboratories that are open, inviting and equipped to handle the latest equipment and technology. 

Key features include:

  • Four classroom laboratories, including Chemistry/Biochemistry, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology (A&P), and Science Research and Demonstration (SRD), are connected by a shared prep room that runs across the exterior wall.
  • Flexible student workstations are included in the Microbiology, A&P and SRD labs.
  • Opportunities to integrate teaching and research are provided via a research bench in the back of the SRD lab which also includes classroom and demonstration space.
  • Monitors on the sides of every lab allow for integration of residential and virtual cohorts in the same class sessions.
  • A glass interior wall allows students walking in the hallway to see into the labs and creates a light-filled, open space inside the lab.
  • Communication time was reduced during the construction process through integration of construction manager in the design process and the design team in construction meetings, resulting in a truly integrated approach to the entire design and build process.
Bellevue University Teaching Lab
Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE
United States

9,800 SF (910 m²)


Excellence in Design, Merit Award (2018)
Interior Architecture Category
American Institute of Architects, Nebraska Chapter