Science building to open in 2004

Jessica Sasseen

A new body is being raised from the ground on Western’s campus. The skeleton is already there.

The body is taking the form of a new $20 million science building, scheduled to open in fall 2004.

Construction on the science building is going well and is on schedule, Construction Manager Ed West said.

Crews began work in August of 2002.

The building is being constructed with a concrete skeleton, West said. It causes less vibrations and interference from steel components that generate magnetic fields.

“Right now you are seeing the skeleton of the building,” West said “The skeleton will be finished by August and then they’ll be putting the flesh on.”

West said the concrete skeleton should be finished and the outside of the building should be taking shape by the time students return in the fall.

“The exterior will be brick and limestone,” West said. “The building is bringing a lot of components of older buildings on this one.”

He said the design of Gordon Wilson Hall’s window will be carried over to the new building, and it will have limestone incorporated on the exterior like Cherry Hall. It will also have a modern feel to it with a sloped roof, similar to Van Meter Hall.

Biology will occupy the third floor of the building, with engineering on the second and first. West said the building will house labs, student work rooms, engineering labs, faculty offices and meeting rooms.

Engineering department head John Russell said Science and Technology Hall, the program’s current home, is not suitable for their work.

In 33 years with nothing but emergency repairs, Science and Technology Hall has had no modernization, Russell said. He said the building doesn’t have a sufficient electrical or infrastructural system and its not conducive to the programs and activities that are housed inside.

The new building will be modern in appearance, Russell said, with an adequate infrastructure and an attractive environment for students and faculty. He said he believes it will make a tremendous difference in the quality of the program.

“I spent 30 years in the Science and Technology Hall, which is longer than any other person currently with university, and my time of suffering is nearing an end,” he said.

Linda Brown, assistant dean in Ogden College, said the new building will benefit the science departments tremendously since they haven’t had a new building since Environmental Science and Technology Hall was finished in 1974.

She said many of the science buildings are aging, and even unfit for their operations.

Science and Technology Hall was once Bowling Green High School and a training school for teachers in the late 60s.

“(STH is) a building with a lot of structural problems,” Brown said. “And out of the science buildings, we have done renovations and upgrades to buildings that were built well before ‘modern science’ took off.

“We need more state-of-the-art facilities and this building is a great step in that direction.”

She said the new building will allow more of the most important element the engineering program offers – project- based learning, which she calls a revolution in education.

“A lot of effort went into this to ensure that the end use of the building was in mind as it was being developed from the ground up which will make it much more suited for the programs,” Brown said.

Reach Jessica Sasseen at [email protected]