School of Education to receive major facelift beginning in January

"Wilber and Park halls will undergo a $20 million facelift in January 2011 that will include new labs, enhanced classrooms and upgraded equipment.

""You got an older building that people want to have changed, that needs change," said Tom Simmonds, associate vice president of facilities.

"There are six departments within the School of Education that are located in different buildings. The School of Education has been rallying to unify the departments in one area since 1998, said Linda Rae Markert, dean of the School of Education.

"A program study was conducted in 1999 in order to look at the feasibility of bringing the six departments together in Wilber, Park and part of Sheldon Hall. Availability of funds led to another program study done by Ashley Mcgraw Architects in 2006 to update the study done in 1999. The program study involved an environmental scan in order to look at what is being delivered, space availability and the amount of instructional space.

"Between 26 and 32 architecture applications were reviewed in the summer of 2009 before members of the facility group and the School of Education picked SHW Group and Bergmann Associates to design the School of Education buildings.

""I’m happy to say we can all fit in the complex and we all can have quality work space and the students will have high quality instructional space and laboratory facilities," Markert said.

"The renovation of Park and Wilbur will be done in three phases, Simmonds said. The first phase is the technology lab addition off the single story part of Wilber Hall starting in January 2011. Material science labs will be connected in order to update them. Phase two includes the link between Park and Wilber in the summer of 2011. Phase one and two are scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2013. Phase three is the renovation of Wilber Hall starting in 2013-2014.

"Throughout the renovations, classes in Park Hall will be relocated to Hewitt, Wilber and other buildings throughout campus.

"The renovations will include a connection of Wilber and Park on all three floors of the buildings, a lobby space and a signature entrance, according to Linda Rae Markert, dean of the School of Education. A corridor will then connect both buildings to Piez hall.

"The specialized space includes an exercise facility for health, promotion and wellness majors as a teaching type laboratory. Counseling and psychological services majors will be equipped with a fishbowl type room to allow professors to watch students in rooms around the classroom. This new room enhances the one previously built in Mahar Hall.

"Labs and technology will be considered specialized space. They will be redesigned in terms of layout and upgraded equipment, while still using some of the old equipment to make even more instructional space.

""The faculty are very excited," Markert said. "They know they have to live through some really difficult times as any construction project is challenging, but at the end of the tunnel we are going to have some really great state of the art facilities."

"The connector between the science complex and School of Education will include a café in the open space available.

"New instructional space and modernized buildings will provide students and faculty with common areas outside classrooms and offices to work together. It allows more space for study groups and shared conference space. Faculty will be more inclined to work together because of the shared space.

""I’m already happy with the level of collaboration that we have in the school but I’m more excited about the connection to the science and engineering complex," Markert said.


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