Black Hills State University will host a ribbon cutting and open house for its new 26,000-square foot Life Sciences Laboratory Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. The building includes modern research facilities and high-quality science classrooms for the University’s growing number of science students and increasing number of faculty and undergraduate research projects. Part of a statewide effort to upgrade science facilities at all Regental universities, the Life Sciences Laboratory is funded by student fees.
Justin Tibbitts (lab coat), senior biology and American Indian studies major from Hill City, demonstrates lab techniques in the new Life Sciences Laboratory at Black Hills State University while Jason Nies (green shirt), integrative genomics graduate student from Spearfish, BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp and Holly Downing, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at BHSU, observe. The Life Sciences Laboratory has enhanced experiential learning and research opportunities for students at the University.

Community members are encouraged to come to the Black Hills State University campus Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. for a ribbon cutting, brief program, and tours of the new Life Sciences Laboratory. Visitor parking will be available in the Jonas Hall parking lot.

The ribbon cutting program includes comments by BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp, South Dakota Board of Regents Vice President Kathy Johnson, Spearfish Economic Development Director Bryan Walker, and BHSU faculty members Dr. Holly Downing, Dr. Shane Sarver and Dr. Charlie Lamb.

The 26,000-square foot building, located on the southwest portion of campus, was constructed to accommodate the dramatically increasing number of science students at BHSU. The University has seen a 300 percent increase in the number of students pursuing a science degree in the last two decades. BHSU has also made great strides in securing grant research funds, with nearly $6 million in research funding secured last year and nearly $43 million in grant funding over the last decade.

The building includes five chemistry and biology teaching laboratories, three research laboratories, faculty offices, and meeting areas. The modern research laboratories provide high-quality science space for expanding faculty research and the innovative master’s degree program in Integrative Genomics. These facilities enhance experiential learning and research opportunities for BHSU students. A research center, the Center for the Conservation of Biological Resources (CCBR), is also located in the Life Sciences Laboratory.
The Life Sciences Laboratory is part of a statewide effort to upgrade laboratories at all Regental universities and is funded by student fees through bonding.

BHSU offers the following science degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Physical Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Education in Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Science
  • Minors in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics
  • BHSU also has a relatively new master’s degree in Integrative Genomics, an area of biological research that seeks to place the functional significance of an organism's many genes into an ecological and evolutionary context. Integrative Genomics is an interdisciplinary graduate program that combines genomics, ecology, evolution, and physiology to better understand the evolutionary forces that have shaped the mechanisms that are important to species interactions in the wild. Exposure to modern techniques and instrumentation in the laboratory and field prepare students for success in both academic and other biotechnology-related pursuits.
  • In recent years, BHSU has seen an increased interest in students pursuing
  • pre-professional degrees in medicine, pharmacy, and other allied health careers.
  • A new degree currently under development, Professional Science Master’s Degree in Science Entrepreneurship, would address workforce needs and promote technology-based economic development.