Construction works on the new European Center for Geological Education, located in Chęciny, in the Świętokrzyskie district were completed in 11 months.
The centre would not come into existence if it wasn’t for the scientific support of the University of Warsaw, the land offered by the Chęciny municipality or the European funds coming from the Regional Programme for Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. The final agreement between the University and the voivodeship authorities was signed on 14 October 2013.
Before the construction started, the site needed to be prepared and the status of the land regulated. ‘It turned out the vast deposits of dolomite and calcite, now abandoned, but exploited in the ’70s and the’80s, in the register still appeared as natural resources. For this reason we needed to gather some additional documentation,’ explains Piotr Ziółkowski, Rector’s Representative for Investment in Chęciny.
The ECEG is composed of five buildings of similar size and height, connected by ground-level passages. Their total area is 6.500 square metres. The main representative building includes a reception, a canteen and a big conference hall with one wall integrated with the exposed rocks. The second building, dedicated to laboratory and academic purposes, includes labs and lecture halls. The students will find there chemical and geophysical labs, a lab where they will be able to prepare geological samples, or the one specifically destined to geological mapping. The remaining three buildings serves as a residence for teachers, students and invited guests.
In the centre geologists will be able to not only collect valuable samples, but also prepare and analyse them in specialised laboratories. The centre houses a geological sample preparation lab, chemical, geophysical, geological mapping and microscope labs. Also palaeomagnetic laboratory, cut off from the influence of the Earth’s magnetic field, is ready. The centre is equipped with electric resistivity tomography equipment and ground-penetrating radar, among other devices.
It is true that geologists can not learn geology from behind a desk, therefore after finishing first year, geology students undergo obligatory field training.
The area of Holy Cross Mountains (Góry Świętokrzyskie) have long been used by the UW Faculty of Geology as a field training site. Until now the students have been making use of a centre situated in Bocheniec. The new research base, on the other hand, will be located near the town of Chęciny, 12 km to the east. Not only will it provide better laboratory services and housing conditions; it will also offer the geologists unique surroundings thanks to the vicinity of the oldest surface rocks in Poland.
The centre will bring together teachers and students from the University of Warsaw, as well as from other Polish and foreign academic centres. The centre plans to launch geology courses for children, teenagers and adults.
Source: the University of Warsaw
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