Science Center expansion brings concerns of safety, class relocation
Construction is underway for the $120 million, 125,000-square-foot Sven G. Froiland Science Complex.
Though the construction itself is no secret, the details, changes and challenges that lie behind the fences and heavy machinery may seem surprising.
Priority number one is ensuring safety on campus, according to director of Campus Safety Rick Tupper.
The foremost measure taken by Campus Safety was the installation of a fence surrounding the entire site. At about six feet, the fence has, so far, done its job in keeping curious onlookers away from the equipment inside.
Tupper noted that Campus Safety will have to be mindful of interior safety concerns like evacuation plans, as well.
“There are safety concerns not only outside, but inside the building as well,” Tupper said. “The project eliminated two potential evacuation doors —one facing 33rd Street and the other facing Summit Avenue—so we will be using alternate exits in the event of an emergency.”
Campus Safety will also be handling any traffic, parking and late-night lighting concerns that the project might impose.
A place for everyone
The next challenge to be met by the school is that of relocation.
With the construction in the lower level of the existing Gilbert Science Center (GSC), the math department has had to change office locations. All math courses have been relocated, as well.
“Our offices have been moved from the lower level of the Science Center to the second floor of the Seminary building,” said Martha Gregg, who is teaching sections of calculus, quantitative reasoning and foundations this semester.
“There are math classes being taught in the Madsen Center, the Humanities building and the GSC this fall,” she said.
Gregg noted that she rather enjoys her new office space.
“The math department has been on the lower level of the GSC for over 40 years without windows or carpeting, so the move up to the offices in Seminary has been very pleasant,” she said.
Gregg has not noticed a major decline in students seeking help with their math work at her new location, and she encourages students to make the trip across Summit if they are in need of assistance.
Project excites, draws donor funds
Challenges, however, have not been the only thing garnered by the project. The prospect of the state-of-the-art Froiland Science Complex has also ignited excitement and promise in donors, according to vice president for advancement Bob Preloger.
Preloger reported that, since August of 2007, over 500 donors have given $1000 or more to what has become the largest project in the college’s 154-year history.
Students, staff welcome change
Students, too, are getting excited about the changes taking place.
Sophomore nursing major Connor Grove said he likes the current building, but he is ready to see what improvements will come with the project.
“I’m extremely excited for the developments to unfold,” he said. “Most of my time has been and will be spent in that complex. The building is definitely suitable right now, but the improvements will make it an even better place to learn.”
President Rob Oliver had similar things to say about the project.
“Once completed, the project will give the science and math departments the space and technology they need to compete with the top programs in the nation,” he said. “The new complex will remove limitations and allow our students and staff to do their best work.”
New classroom technologies
Specifically, the math department will have redesigned, “smarter” classrooms in the new complex.
According to professor Paul Egland, the biology department will have spaces in both the new addition and the existing building. The new rooms will be called “classatories,” a classroom and laboratory hybrid.
Freshman biology major Kallie Stenson is also eager to see these changes happen in the coming years.
“As a biology major, I will be spending a lot of my next four years in the complex, so I’m very excited to see what new spaces will be created and what new technologies will be integrated into the current building,” she said.
Finally, the chemistry department will see an all-new lab space, a renovation of the current lab and increased research space. Each of the labs will be better equipped with more and better hoods, power distribution and climate control. The stockroom will also be expanded.
The new addition of the Froiland wing is scheduled to be completed Dec. 2015. The remaining two wings, the Elmen and Gilbert wings, are slated to be finished by July of 2016.