Today: Apr 21, 2024

Future construction plans: SCSU buildings will receive a long-awaited update

Photo courtesy SCSU
Rendering of the future academic science and laboratory building.

MELISSA CHICKERNews Writer

Southern’s campus will be receiving a major face-lift thanks to the Connecticut State University 2020 Plan, approved by state legislators, which is a 10-year plan for renovation and construction of buildings at Central, Eastern, Southern and Western.

The long-term plan is estimated to cost a total of $98 million. Master Facilities Plan will be the final construction of three buildings at Southern. This is the second of two phases that began in the 1990s.

The plan includes funds for infrastructure improvements, mechanical and electrical upgrades, renovation and equipment, as well as new construction to replace inadequate facilities—some dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. T

he first project is slated to begin construction in February of 2013 is the academic science and laboratory building, estimated to take a year and a half until it can begin to receive occupancy, according to Dean of Arts and Sciences Donna-Jean Fredeen.

“The backbone of any institution in my opinion is the arts and sciences; you can’t be a college or university without them,” she said. “These new buildings will develop a backbone for the university in a sense.”

The stand-alone 98,000 total square-feet building will be connected to Jennings Hall that will be built in an L-shape with one wing facing Pelz Gym and the other facing Fitch Street. According to James Dolan, professor of physics, there will be a full lower level, approximately half of which will house the CSU Nanotechnology Center. The three floors will include labs for the physics, earth science and environmental studies departments as well as specialized lab support rooms for biology and chemistry. Rooms will also include seminar rooms, a control room for an astronomical telescope array on the roof of the building and a large saltwater aquarium room.

Photo Courtesy SCSU
Computer rendering of the future academic science and laboratory building.

All the lab rooms are designed for upper-level courses while the basic lab courses will still be taught in rooms located in Jennings and Morrill Hall.

“All of the science departments already have extensive participation by students in faculty-led research, but the new building will provide far more opportunities for students, along with the chance to work in high-level lab spaces,” said Dolan.

Other projects slated for the plan include a new health and human services building, which will be located next to the new laboratory building. The new health and human services building will provide a chance to consolidate the location of most of the health departments and to bring various laboratories and clinic space up to date, according to Gregory J. Paveza.

“Space will be devoted to faculty and administrative offices, clinics and clinical laboratory space and classrooms. How that space will be divided has yet to be determined,” he said.

According to Paveza, the building will be ready for occupancy by the year 2017 and he hopes it will bring the school together in one general region.

“Most critically this will bring the school into a central area on campus, will upgrade our clinics and clinical labs and bring faculty into closer proximity to each other, hopefully opening up the opportunities for greater crossdisciplinary collaboration,” said Paveza.

The new Fine Arts Instructional Center will be the last of the construction and will take the place of the old Seabury Hall structure after its demolition. Nothing is in the works yet, but potential plans may begin in three to four years with construction being done in another two years.

Problems like lack of ventilation and not having a formal art gallery are some of the things that make Earl Hall unfit to house some of the art department’s classrooms, according to Gregory Conchenet, associate art professor.

“I think we have an excellent art program, but there are some things we are severely lacking. It will be great to be on the level playing ground with other four-year universities,” said Conchenet. “I am excited to see the students benefit from it.”

The plan, according to the CSUS, will overall help to address growing state needs in fields such as nursing, teaching, engineering, science and technology. This will also provide students in all four state schools with the facilities and equipment necessary to be well-prepared to respond to the needs of Connecticut employers and strengthen the state’s economic well-being.

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