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Test tubes galore: Novum Pharmaceuticals gives lab equipment to school

Liberty Middle School teachers Michael Stecher, Kaitlin Crowdus, Shannon Moser and Lisa Woodbury sort through some of the donated science lab items totaling about $35,000.David Samson / The Forum

When Lisa Woodbury, a life sciences teacher at Liberty Middle School, heard her school might be in line to receive more than $30,000 worth of lab equipment from a local research company, she wasted no time expressing her interest.

When Novum Pharmaceuticals moved into its Fargo building, Mike Hellman, associate director of clinical operations for Novum, said there were many boxes of lab equipment left over by PRACS, a similar company that owned the building until filing for bankruptcy.

Novum simply boxed up the equipment to store in its building. But then Novum found another business interested in leasing the available lab where the equipment was stored.

Hellman had considered selling it online on behalf of the company, but instead the West Fargo resident decided to ask his teacher neighbors if a local school might find a use for the equipment.

Hellman invited Woodbury and other Liberty science teachers to pick up the two loads of lab equipment that include hundreds of glassware and measuring equipment including beakers, flasks, filtering flasks, volumetric pipes, chemical bottles and droppers.

"They were like kids in a candy store," Hellman said of the teachers who were able to pick up the new equipment, which is cleaned and regulation safe for reuse by an outside source.

The two loads are estimated to be worth upward of $32,000, an estimated worth that would have been a likely higher profit had Novum decided to sell the equipment, Hellman said.

Novum Pharmaceuticals provides research services by offering participants high cash rewards.

The equipment will be used by nearly all science classes including life science, earth science, chemistry or biology.

"We have test tubes galore," Woodbury said.

"It's a huge donation," Woodbury said. "It means we have some materials that would allow us to be more flexible with the types of labs we will have for students, we otherwise wouldn't because our budget is so tight."

Woodbury said the equipment will be sorted through and with the large amount, will be shared with Sheyenne High School, Cheney Middle School and likely other district schools.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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