San Jose State University has revealed plans to construct a new science building. The long-awaited building is predicted to break ground in July 2018.
Carl D. Duncan Hall (DH), which was completed in 1972, houses most of the College of Science’s labs, but the forty-year-old building has outdated facilities and cramped space.
Brenda Serrano, a lab instructor and lecturer in the college of science said, “Probably this building is not as bad shape as the Science Building in terms of equipment and facilities.
The preliminary building site proposal suggests using the area just north of Duncan Hall, encompassing the adjacent parking lot and the Associated Student lawn. Associate Dean of Research Marc d’Alarcao said the building will primarily contain teaching and research laboratories.
The Science Building, the older and smaller companion to DH, is where most of the lectures are currently held.
There is an ongoing complaint about the building having uneven heating and cooling throughout, along with organic chemistry labs that are in poor condition. New plans aim to combat these concerns.
“This is far beyond the scope of what we were initially working,” said Stanley Vaughn, Instructional and Research Facility Manager. ”It’s time to dream.”
He envisions an outdoor classroom, interactive self-guided tours with sculptures, an amphitheater and more.
“I see this as a living holistic organism where students are not going to want to leave,” Vaughn said.
Graduate students would also benefit from a new building which would provide more research labs. Diane Eilerts, graduate chemistry teaching assistant, said, “My research lab is very small; it’s hard to find space.”
Eilerts said students in her biology lab would be an even larger beneficiary because they often lose valuable lab time adjusting outdated equipment.
Among d’Alarcao’s top priorities is including informal study spaces such as cubbies and huddle rooms where student can work on problems together.
The planning committee is scheduled to select the contractor and architectural team in late March.
“It’s at a concept of about $130 million,” said Vaughn. The funds come from the state and must be approved by the chancellor’s office. In addition, there are hopes to get additional funding from University Advancement.
Vaughn said San Jose State’s Science and Innovative Complex will be unique compared to other California State Universities. The building will be environmentally friendly. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) established by the U.S. Green Building Council is a rating system that looks at materials, performance, smart grid and water efficiency.
“We are looking at very specialized areas, looking at LEEDS rating,” Vaughn said. “We’d like to get to gold or platinum,”
This building will cost more than others on campus because of the utilities such as: vacuum, natural gas, compressed air, fume hoods and other equipment specific to research and teaching science laboratories.
The design team will be responsible for making sure classrooms, labs and research can function during construction.
The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2021. “We don’t shut down. In science, we do work 365 days a year,” Vaughn said.