The Science Classroom Debate

The state Legislature granted the University funds to demolish and replace the Science Classroom Building, which has housed chemistry and other large lectures since the early 1960s. The projectâÄòs total cost, with both the demolition and new building included, is slated at $72.5 million. The University and the state were correct in making the decision to fund and implement the project. Opponents of the project feel that $72.5 million is over the top to demolish a building that serves its purpose as a classroom. Moreover, opponents argue that the downgrade from four lecture halls to the two that will be in the new building makes little sense. While a $72.5 million price tag for a building of its size is steep, we believe that this is a step the University has rightfully taken to show its students that it is still dedicated in its goal of becoming one of the top three public research institutions in the world. The new building, to be named the Science Teaching and Student Services Building, will better utilize a prime location that is currently lacking in both style and features. Intelligent Systems and Engineering Services, a private facility evaluator, has estimated that the University will need to spend $2 billion over the next ten years on building replacement. The University will need to continue to make significant investments in its buildings if it is to remain competitive at a national level. While the chemistry department will be forced to make adjustments until the 2010 completion date, rewards will follow in a building that will lead the UniversityâÄôs science department well into the 21st century. The University has made its goals and intentions public, and now it needs to take the necessary actions to keep on pace if it plans to accomplish them accordingly.