The Division of Natural Sciences is one of the College of Arts and Sciences’ three divisions. Six Departments: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science and Computer Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematics, and Physics comprise this division. The Morken Center for Learning and Technology houses the Office of the Dean, the Computer Science & Computer Engineering Department, and the Mathematics Department. The Biology Department, Chemistry Department, Geosciences Department, and Physics Department reside in the Rieke Science Center. Both of these buildings are located toward the west end of PLU’s lower campus.
The Morken Center for Learning and Technology, which opened its doors in February 2006, is the first building at an independent college in Washington to receive gold-level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
Natural light floods airy, open spaces. Clean, minimalist lines simultaneously suggest a modern space dedicated to technology and innovation while referencing PLU’s Scandinavian heritage. Native species in the landscaping underscore a sense of place specific to the Pacific Northwest.
There are over seven miles of conduit running through the concrete floors to power advanced technology in the building. All common areas have wireless Internet access. Some computer science and computer engineering classrooms have computers at each desk. There are dedicated study areas for seniors completing semester-long Capstone coursework.
The building is heated and cooled through a system of 83 geothermal pumps, located 300 feet underground. It is a closed loop that uses water from underground wells to alter the temperature within the building depending on the season. The system uses less energy than traditional heating and cooling systems and is lower maintenance.
The Rieke Science Center is named in honor of the late William O. Rieke, M.D., PLU’s 11th president and noted scientist. Completed in 1985, the 88,500 square-foot facility is one of two buildings housing the Division of Natural Sciences and serves as the majestic anchor of the university’s lower campus.