Campus renovation projects moving along

The School of Education building complex will soon be undergoing renovation. The project will perform a complete renewal of Park Hall and Wilber Hall.

"We have completed a program study and are now starting a conceptual design for renovation and addition to support the six departments that comprise the School of Education," Vice President for Facilities Tom Simmonds said.

The construction budget for the project is approximately $22,000, which includes relocation of classrooms in the two buildings to elsewhere on campus. The relocation planning and initial work is set to start in 2009. The larger construction activities are set to begin spring 2010 and continue through fall 2013.

The new complex will propose students and faculty members with new opportunities.

"Programmatically, the complex will offer new opportunities for collaboration among School of Education departments, as well as the science programs that will be adjacent zones of the overall larger complex," Simmonds said.

Piez Hall is also undergoing renovations. The expansion of Piez will connect six science departments and the School of Education departments within Wilber and Park Halls.

"This will stimulate new collaborative projects across programs and among faculty members. Newly outfitted laboratories may be designed as ‘shared’ specialized spaces," School of Education Dean Linda Rae Markert said. "We envision new collaborative projects with our colleagues in the applied sciences and mathematics."

Both projects are in their starting stages and might be undergoing renovation around the same time. "We are still investigating exactly how to accomplish both projects," Chair of the Science Planning Committee, Casey Raymond said.

The science department project is moving through design phases now and general floor plans have been established.

The science department project includes a large new construction component, while the School of Education project is mainly a renovation. The two projects contain advantages and disadvantages.

"The School of Education project will be a challenge to empty spaces in Park and Wilber Halls so that renovations can occur. In the science project we only need to consider renovating Piez Hall, which may happen after the new construction is accomplished," Raymond said.

"Modernized building components, accessibility enhancements, state-of-the-art formal and informal learning environments, and themes of collaboration, visibility and sustainability will transform the complex," Simmonds said.

As far as program changes within the school to coincide with new buildings, there have not been any decisions made.

"We are not currently planning new programs to coincide with the new building. However, we are seriously reviewing all of our programs to determine where revisions and modifications are needed to insure high quality and enhance visibility as we move forward into the second decade of the 21st century," Markert said.