Archive for Sunday, September 30, 2012

Updated Baker science hall to be dedicated

Officials hope upgrades help with recruitment

September 30, 2012


The Ivan L. Boyd Center for Collaborative Science Education at Baker University will be dedicated Friday, but students and faculty have been celebrating the opening of the building since the start of the school year.

Dedication Friday

A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Ivan L. Boyd Center for Collaborative Science Education is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday. The dedication will celebrate the $10.3 million raised for the building, which is the largest capital project in the history of Baker University.

The center, which is the renovated Mulvane Science Hall, houses classrooms and labs for biology, chemistry, math, physics and information technology.

Tours of the renovated building will be available following the dedication as well as from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Darcy Russell, professor of biology.

The building, formerly known as Mulvane Science Hall, was completely gutted and renovated, and acquired a 9,000-square-foot addition. The new wing of the building is referred to as Hartley Hall, and the renovated area is Mulvane. It houses biology, chemistry, math, physics and information technology classrooms and labs.

Russell has helped coordinate the project since the university decided to update Mulvane Science Hall in 1999. After watching numerous building plans get rejected and the struggle to raise the money for the project during the recession, it was sometimes hard to keep believing the improvements would take place, Russell said.

“The whole process was roller coaster-y,” she said. “The fact that we are now sitting in a building that is perfect for us and will work for us for lots of years, it’s just very satisfying.”

Russell and other faculty members determined what features would be most important to include and what areas in the building could be adjusted. Larger lab spaces were especially important to students and faculty because lectures and classes can be held in any building, but labs can only take place in the science hall. Ultimately, designers maximized labs, maintained office space, downsized class space and added student areas.

“I like how there’s lounges and study areas to do projects,” said Victoria Paul, a freshman biology major. “It gives science students the opportunity to have resources close to them rather than studying in the library.”

Paul had seen the hall before its renovation and values the updates. She thinks it will help her receive a better education.

“There was a lot of outdated technology,” Paul said. “The new building and equipment will give students a better understanding of modern sciences.”

Improvements in the science department figured into Paul’s decision to attend Baker, and science faculty hopes other prospective students will take the renovations into consideration when choosing a college.

“What we’re doing is going to have a huge impact on students now and in the future,” Russell said. “This building will attract good faculty and this building will allow the university to hire great faculty, and that’s what makes it a great place for students, too.”

Although the Boyd Center is completed, fundraising for the building isn’t. The university is hoping to raise more money for an endowment to allow the department to stay current with technology and make updates to the building as needed.

For now, students and faculty are continuing to settle into the building that’s been more than 10 years in the making.

“I love it,” Russell said. “This is how it should always have been.”


Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 7 months ago

Congratulations! I am a KU graduate, but I like Baldwin City very much and take a strong interest in Baker University.

riverdrifter 5 years, 7 months ago

The contractor, J. E. Dunn of KC., was superior. I've watched the progress on it from day one last December. Those guys just kicked butt on this project and I congratulate them.

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