New science building on schedule to open next fall

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Science Buidling Construction, Fall 2014. Chad Merren, welder.

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Science Buidling Construction, Fall 2014. Chad Merren, welder.

gabriella patti

The new science laboratory building being constructed on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus is on schedule to open in time for next fall, according to Facilities Planning officials.

Project Manager Shannon Sullivan and Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning James Moyer said the $55 million building was made a top priority when requesting funding from the state.

“STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related education is a key component in the state of Michigan’s efforts to improve education and reverse the loss of population to other states,” Sullivan said. “At the university, science labs are in great demand by the students aspiring to the health related programs.”

Chair of the biomedical sciences department, Dan Bergman, said the science laboratory building will also open up class opportunities.

“(The science building) allows increases in some of the labs for general education programs,” Bergman said. “Teaching labs and lecture seats will be opening up.”

Bergman said they can now expand the number of courses and help to keep science students graduating in four years.

Sullivan said the biology department will be the building’s main new occupant and will be joined by movement sciences and some staff from information technology.

“The building has nine general purpose classrooms, 15 teaching laboratories, one computational research lab, 14 faculty/student research laboratories, a greenhouse, eight student study spaces, 160 plus faculty and staff offices, 10 conference rooms and graduate assistant and student offices,” Sullivan said.

Moyer added that the building will have a marketplace in the adjacent building with Starbucks Coffee as well as a sheltered walkway on the north side of the building.

Neil MacDonald, chair of the biology department, said the new building will offer students a better learning environment.

“All the new labs will be modern laboratories that will be sized correctly to the courses that will be sized in them,” MacDonald said. “In the new building we won’t have to do so much sharing of labs.”

When biology moves out of Padnos and Henry Halls, the empty space will be occupied by biomedical sciences. Bergman said this move will cause a ripple effect around campus.

“When biology moves to the new science building, we also begin to move out of other buildings. We have faculty in Mackinac and classes in lake halls. Science lectures moving back to Padnos and Henry frees up space for other departments,” Bergman said.

Bergman said that currently there are 1,255 students with biomedical science majors at GVSU.

“You see a bunch of other departments come through our doors as well,” Bergman said. “There are another 1,000 plus students trying to take the same classes as BMS students.”

Bergman agrees this was a top priority project and said that the growing number of students require this growing need for laboratory space on campus.

“Padnos and Henry were built 20 years ago,” Bergman said. “Grand Valley has continued to grow over the past 20 years. At this point, student interest and enrollment have continued to grow. Twenty years ago the buildings fulfilled those needs, but not anymore.”

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