Evaluating the new science building

Kelly Smith

“The Science Laboratory Building will expand Grand Valley’s capabilities to educate students interested in pursuing fields in the STEM and health professions,” the Grand Valley State University website says concerning the new building under construction across from Henry and Padnos halls.

That area had been barren of all grass and student life since I’ve been at GV, and I’ve wondered what exactly that new building would be. Apparently, it will eventually hold more science labs and classrooms. Wait a minute…aren’t there enough classrooms and labs in Henry and Padnos? According to the GV website, the building’s purpose is for additional space due to Grand Valley’s “growth in undergraduate study, research and experimentation.”

So, this new building that’s nearing completion is another science building. I know I am not alone in hearing this and wondering if we really need another science building, but the website reports that it is a necessary addition. This just goes to show how much GV is impacted by its science majors. We’re looking at “nine classrooms, 15 teaching laboratories, 14 faculty and student research laboratories, study spaces, offices and a greenhouse.” Another greenhouse? I suppose that’s a good idea if we have this many demands for another science building.

Now, I am not a science major. In fact, the only science courses I plan on taking are those which will satisfy my gen ed requirements. However, all the times I’ve walked from the music building to Fresh and vice versa, I’ve passed the greenhouse outside of Padnos and briefly wondered what the greenhouse’s purpose is. In other words, what classes involve the greenhouse? Again, I don’t know because I’m not a science major, but the thought has passed my mind. It’s also recently struck me how large the science buildings are compared to other academic buildings that hold classrooms (though Mackinac does come close, I suppose).

So, this new science building is being constructed for the increasing STEM field work in Grand Valley’s science department. It makes me wonder if the science department, or any department for that matter, will continue to grow overtime, requiring even more buildings. If that’s the case, where will they go? But it’s probably not the best idea to think too far ahead right now. I mean, we haven’t even seen the new science building complete yet.

Whatever happens in the future is unknown, but what we can assume is that this new science building will give science majors or all kinds of majors the opportunity to expand their learning and provide adequate space to do so. Just like a music major needs their equipment, a warm-up room and a stage, a biology major needs their lab and materials.

We all know very well how much GV values the education of its students, so it’s no surprise that such necessary steps are taken to ensure that all students have what they need to succeed. GVSU may not be the perfect, top-notch university, but all that is needed to be a great university is one that puts the needs of students first. This is why we have a new library, a new office building at Zumberge Hall and why we will soon be looking at a new science building.