Academic building renovations persist

By Ryan Connelly and Brielle Chavez 

Freshmen Sarah Waldron (left) and Danielle Jackson (right) in a newly renovated science lab.

Phase two of the Science and Technology Center renovations has been completed, as of the end of October. The renovations consisted of upgrading the chemistry research lab on the first floor and the psychology lab suite, along with rooms 109-112. Permanent lights and sheetrock were also installed to finalize the upgrades for phase two. 

“Early on before the projects even started we had met with the deans, the registrar’s office and the department heads, and kind of mapped out a strategy that minimizes disruption,” said Michael Reca, vice president for facilities and university operations. “They helped move some classes; they were very accommodating to us about moving some things out, working with us in case our schedules got slightly delayed. It was a collaborative effort from a lot of different folks.”

Funding for the renovations were made through bond issues. Costing $6.5 million for all three phases, the Science and Technology Center has costed more than the average amount spent on other buildings. 

For phase three, Reca is focusing on the second floor. 

He said, “Most of the labs on the second floor will be redone, as well as the lecture hall. In addition to that, the hallway will be upgraded with ceilings, lights and sheetrock. [After Phase three], every floor will have been touched and labs have been improved.”

  There was only so much bond money that Rider had to spend on these renovations. That money had to be split up amongst each building that was being worked on. Each building that was renovated tried to stay within a $4 million to $6 million budget, according to Reca.  

“Rooms 109-112 have not been renovated in the magnitude that they were since they have been built,” said Kathleen Browne, geological, environmental, and marine sciences department chair. “We have more appropriate storage space for things we need to store. In one classroom, the location of the tables relative in the front of the room shifted 90 degrees [to make] the room more versatile.”

 Even though upgrades were made to this building, there’s only so much bond money to go around that not everyone in their respective department gets what they want. 

“We needed this years and years ago,” said Browne. “[The science faculty] were involved in planning the renovation. What we have is as close as possible that the contractors could pull off to what we wanted.”

Project after project, Michael Reca looked to make sure Rider is the best that it could possibly be. 

After phase three is complete, the upgrades won’t stop there; Reca planned to add a whole new wing on to the Science and Technology Center. 

“We are in the early planning stages of the science addition, which is part of the bond projects,” said Reca. “It’s a major initiative that’s going to be a $20 million to $25 million addition. What we didn’t touch in the three phases on renovations, we will touch in that project along with an addition to the building for the new majors.” 

Students within the science department will be the ones who are most affected by the new renovations. They will be working in the new labs, along with using the upgaded equipment. 

Heather Lesinski, a senior integrated sciences and math major, believes that the money was well-spent, regarding the renovations. 

“The upgrades in the labs now offer better equipment,” said Lesinski. “The upgrades look nice and modern. I feel that future science majors will thrive and benefit from these renovations.”

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