A new addition to the Glenn G. Bartle Library is open for the fall 2021 semester.

Construction on the Innovation Lab finished over the summer, and the facility is located in the former Newcomb Reading Room, next to the Zurack Family High-Technology Collaboration Center.

The Innovation Lab was designed to provide students and faculty the ability to collaborate with industry partners to conduct research, brainstorm and create marketable products and projects. It also functions as a daily study lounge for students to use.

Some of the Innovation Lab’s other features include 3D printers, a design lab, virtual conferencing systems with classrooms, meeting rooms, a prototyping workshop, a video projection wall and flexible and moveable furniture.

The project was funded by donations from Binghamton University alumnus Barry Goodman, ‘79, co-CEO of Millburn Ridgefield Corporation, who wanted people from different departments to be able to come together and use the workspace for their projects and research.

Goodman said he wanted BU to have a space that meets the technological needs of students, especially those looking for a job.

“We need to think about how we can create jobs, create industries and create products beyond creating efficiencies that create job destruction,” Goodman said per the BU website. “What we’re trying to do here is better align the University’s educational process with what I think are going to be the demands of the future for our students.”

Goodman said when it comes to using the Innovation Lab, he wants students to be able to experience what it is like to work alongside others.

“[The Innovation Lab] will provide students with the opportunity to collaborate at a level they’re not used to,” Goodman said, according to the BU website. “Students will walk away with some unbelievable experiences. Faculty will have access to new and exciting approaches to education.”

James Pitarresi, vice provost for online and innovative education, and Upinder Dhillon, dean of the School of Management, spoke about the design of the lab and how they hope it will help inspire students.

“We wanted a design that straddled the line between flashy and plain in order to remind students that ideas don’t come from flashy technologies,” Dhillon said per BingUNews. “Ideas come from people, and can be developed using something as simple as sticky notes. We’re creating an ecosystem that provides a catalyst for innovation.”

Matthew Baker, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said he uses the Innovation Lab as his primary study space, and thinks it is a helpful addition to campus.
“The Innovation Lab is a great place to study and hang out with friends with a collection of different and interesting seating setups,” Baker said. “I personally use it to get work done in between classes with friends and think it’s a great place to get work done in a really accessible area.”

Ty Carpinello, a sophomore majoring in biology, appreciates how useful it is for larger groups working in the library.

“The meeting rooms are great spaces to do group work without distracting others around you because the walls are pretty soundproof,” Carpinello said.