Lukas Flippo

Construction workers continue to scatter around the new Yale Science Building like bees, carrying tools and materials up a padded elevator to floors that still need installations.

In some areas, however, the complex — which started construction in 2017 — looks nearly complete. There are fossils and dinosaur specimens behind walls of glass. There’s a lecture hall that seats almost 500 persons, now open to students. Rows of cubicles stand ready for researchers to fill.

Behind all the “wet paint” signs ad through the rather wide hallways of YSB’s laboratory floors, several labs have been steadily moving out of Kline Biology Tower and into the new, nearly 300,000-square-foot building.

For many, it’s a welcome change.

Molecular, cellular and developmental biology researcher Kenneth Brewer GRD ’20, a member of the Breaker Lab, moved into the building in August. The transition was fairly smooth, he said, and he’s happy to be in the YSB — especially since desk space is across the hall from the lab space.

Now, he said, he can sip on a drink while sending emails and writing grants. He couldn’t have done that at Kline because of a strict no-food policy in the labs, he added.

“That is one of the nice things about the new space compared to KBT,” he said. “It was kind of irritating to not have a coffee next to you.”

His old space in the KBT skyscraper had a “dingy basement feel,” he explained, with narrow windows that brought too little light in. Others complained that KBT had air conditioning problems, with summer heat making lab space uncomfortable to work in.

The tall, thin tower, with its relatively small floors, also made communicating with other labs difficult, Pyle Lab member Rafael Araujo Tavares GRD ’21 said.

The Yale Science Building’s wide floor plan, air conditioning and abundance of meeting rooms make the place an improvement, he explained. The Breaker and Pyle Labs — which both involve structural biology — now operate close to each other, which will help stimulate collaboration.

Nicholas Huston GRD ’23, a fellow researcher in the Pyle Lab, said that since his team has only been there for a few weeks, he’ll have to get used to the new space to see just how much of an improvement it is from KBT.

“[KBT]’s old, but it worked fine. It was a good space,” he said.

One of the only complaints he said he could think of was the shortage of lunch tables. Lab members share just a few spots on each floor to eat at — which can get crowded, he said.

But since there are so many meeting rooms in YSB, he said his colleagues reserved one for a year so that they have a guaranteed spot for lunch.

Another minor concern: Huston can hear the glass windows creak as they warm in the heat. It sounds like a light knocking against the wall, and surprises visitors and new scientists when they hear it.

Otherwise, he said, the new space is very nice.

“I love the glow up for Science Hill,” he said.

YSB is built on the plot of the old J.W. Gibbs Laboratory, which was demolished in 2017.

Matt Kristoffersen | matthew.kristoffersen@yale.edu