When Germanna Community College opened its gleaming new Science & Engineering Building and Information Commons to the public on  May 11,  a crowd of about 250 at the college’s Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania heard GCC President David A.Sam say the building itself was designed to be a teaching tool.

The high-tech green building, he said, is a giant, real-world, fully functional laboratory.

In a way, it is also a humanity lab.

It was designed to foster relationships as well as to prepare students for jobs in science and engineering, including green jobs, and to raise awareness among all students and the community about how green technology works. A Greenforce Initiative/National Wildlife Federation grant has paid to train students to act as tour guides for the community

But there is much more to the facility than cold, inhuman technology.

It was designed, Dr. Sam said, to bring students and faculty together in a warm, engaging human way that will promote the best possible atmosphere for learning. Its sprawling library will have a coffee shop. It is bright, airy, comfortable and welcoming.