ISB adds new dean, majors, classroom space to campus


The smell of fresh paint radiates through each hallway and stairwell.  Stacks of boxes containing shiny equipment waits to be put to use in state-of-the-art research labs. A human anatomy lab, not yet stained by the smell of formaldehyde. The hum of professors as they busily prepare for the first classes to experience a new building 50 years in the making.    

Browning Hall is the dream Stephanie Schroeder has been helping to build for nearly 15 years.  

“I still feel like pinch me,” Schroeder said. “I feel like it’s not real. These departments have done so much with so little for so long in Webster Hall and we have done a really good job. Imagine what we are going to be able to do now to help the next generation of Webster students.”     

The building

Browning Hall adds 27 laboratories including a human anatomy lab, kitchen lab and a computational lab, 71 new offices, a 129 seat auditorium and several common spaces for student and faculty.

With an estimated cost of $44 million, the Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB) was designed to be American Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible on all levels. The accessibility ranges from building entrances to lab sinks and the levels of the desks in classrooms and labs.   

The new ISB building is located behind and attached to the East Academic Building. PC: Andrew Young
The new ISB building is located behind and attached to the East Academic Building.
PC: Andrew Young

“Everything about the building is accessible and built to current ADA standards,” Schroeder said. “Rather than having one station ADA and everything else at a greater height, it was decided to make everything at the ADA level. We have adjustable lab stools, but it would still be accessible for students with disabilities.”  

Additionally, the ISB was built with sustainability in mind. According to Webster’s mission statement, one of Webster’s core values is global citizenship, which includes acting responsibly toward the environment to foster a sustainable future.  

ISB was designed to be LEED Silver. This is part of a certification program through the LEED Green Building Rating System that reviews buildings on the design, construction and operation as a green building. The levels for LEED certification are certified, silver, gold and platinum. The East Academic Building was certified as LEED Gold in 2013.           

A new dean, a new major

In addition to the new building, the College of Arts and Sciences added Dean Tony Wallner. Wallner brings with him a new major to the university, a BS in chemistry.  

“We have Tony Wallner, who is the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Dean Wallner is a chemist by profession and trade,” VP of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Robert Parrent said. “What that means is that he brings a whole new dimension of academic opportunity to the university.”  

The new program requires 128 credit hours including 67 credit hours of core chemistry courses, the Global Citizenship Program, a semester of independent research and electives. The chemistry program is housed in the new ISB building, where students have access to four chemistry labs, a research lab and an instrumentation room.   

“I think the fact that we now have a chemistry major, which we didn’t a year ago, is because we now have a building where we can be dedicated chemistry and before we didn’t,” President Elizabeth Stroble said. “Buildings are important because they enlarge your capacity to do different things you’ve never done before.”  


The dedication for Browning Hall is set for Thursday, October 19 at 10:30 am. The event will include a dedication ceremony followed by an academic symposium, academic sessions, a student research showcase and closing reception at 4:00 pm.  

Webster broke ground on the ISB September 9, 2015 and officially began construction on March 30, 2016. The official completion date was August 18, 2017.  

To RSVP for the dedication event, contact Director of Special Events Nancy Higgins at or 314-698-6959.  

To view The Journal’s video covering the new ISB, click here.

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