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Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014

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UPDATED - Chemistry lab carries Frick name; move-in begins

The first occupants have begun moving into Princeton University's new chemistry building -- now formally named the Frick Chemistry Laboratory -- this week, initiating a process that will take place over the next six months.

After three years of construction, among the first faculty and staff to move into the building will be those in the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) equipment lab located below grade on the B level of the 265,000-square-foot building just south of Jadwin Hall. Larger groups will move from the former Frick Laboratory farther north on Washington Road and also Hoyt Laboratory starting in late August, and the first upper-level courses will be taught in the new building in the fall until the building is fully occupied and hosts its full load of classes for the first time in February 2011.

The building this summer received its name in recognition of the original 1919 bequest that supported the former Frick Lab, constructed in 1929 to serve as the hub of chemistry instruction and research on Princeton's campus. The former Frick henceforth will be identified by its street address, 20 Washington Road.

Also named this summer were two gathering spaces in the new Frick Chemistry Laboratory: the atrium as Taylor Commons, and the 260-seat Edward C. Taylor Auditorium, both in recognition of the work of Edward Taylor, Princeton's A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Organic Chemistry Emeritus. Taylor's research led to the development of the anti-cancer drug Alimta in cooperation with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, and Princeton's U.S. patent has yielded royalties that supported the construction of the state-of-the-art chemistry building.

When the Frick Chemistry Laboratory is fully operational, up to 30 Department of Chemistry faculty members, 30 staff, 250 to 300 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research staff, and several hundred undergraduates will use the building regularly.

The former Frick Lab was named in honor of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, who did not fund the building itself, but was a benefactor of the University. He had discussed Princeton's need for a chemistry laboratory with President John Hibben (1912-32) and was courted as donor for the proposed project. But the laboratory was postponed because of its estimated construction cost of $1 million.

Upon Frick's death in 1919, Princeton received an unrestricted bequest of $6 million -- still not designated for a chemistry laboratory, and instead for faculty salaries -- but in recognition of Frick's "earlier interest and his subsequent bequest," trustees named the original chemistry lab in Frick's honor when funds became available to build it years later.

Among the oldest functioning chemistry facilities at an academic institution in the country, the original building will remain offline after it is vacated until the University can raise funds for its renovation. The building is designated to be used in the future for the humanities and social sciences. Nearby Hoyt Laboratory, which also houses teaching and research facilities for the chemistry department, will go offline for the immediate future.

By Labor Day, members of the campus community will be able to access the new Frick Chemistry Laboratory from the west using Streicker Bridge, the 350-foot pedestrian span constructed during the past two years over Washington Road.

The bridge is now open for pedestrian use, but the routes to and from Frick Chemistry Laboratory remain limited as construction concludes. The bridge connects the laboratory to other science buildings across Washington Road as part of the science neighborhood envisioned in the University's Campus Plan that was unveiled in 2008.

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