Biology Department moving for summer renovations

| Gretchen Burns reporter |

Students who have classes in Heckert-Wells Hall may have noticed the building is being emptied. Professors throughout the Biology and Chemistry departments are emptying their laboratories and moving them across campus to various locations. Why? Because this summer the building will be undergoing a renovation.
“This renovation of our ventilation system will bring our building to state-of-the-art conditions so it is a really good thing for us,” said Dixie Smith, chair of the Biology Department.
Smith says the entire building will be vacated for the renovation project because contractors will be tearing out the ceilings, where most of the ductwork is located. Dust, noise and disturbance will be enough to make work difficult for professors to carry on as usual during the summer.
“All of the (chemical vents) in the building will be replaced with new units,” Smith said. “When we are back in the building next fall, it will not look any different … but it will be a more modern building nevertheless.”
The Biology Department will have several laboratories taught in Hartman Hall from now on, including Microbiology, Principles of Biology II and General Biology. Lectures are already being taught in other buildings on campus.
The Chemistry Department has made other arrangements for its summer labs, which will be taught in Yates Hall. Fall laboratory classes will begin two weeks after the start of the semester, but Smith says the late start should not affect the lecture courses.
Many professors have been taking advantage of the move-out process by “spring cleaning” their offices and personal libraries. Textbooks and other media have been labeled free and placed on chairs in the hallways for passing students to sort through and take.
“Many of us are using this event as encouragement to do some serious cleaning, that’s true,” Smith agreed. “I wouldn’t say that it has been difficult, but it is sobering to see how much stuff we accumulate over the years.”
The opportunity for free scientific books was a wonderful experience for Brazilian student Natalia Schneider. Schneider, senior in biology, says that in Brazil, scientific books can be five times more expensive than those sold in the United States and books aren’t always bought.
“The first time I saw the books in the hallway, I got kind of surprised that there were three chairs with three piles of scientific books and a note that said ‘Help Yourself’,” she said. “I grabbed some books to read, and sat down on the floor and started looking through the ones that drew my attention. In the end, I went home with 10 books and in four days, all the books in the chairs were gone. For me, it is awesome to be able to expand my own scientific library while living in the U.S.”
Schneider added she thought the idea of professors giving away books that they would no longer use is a good idea because it gives students a chance to learn even more and beyond what they might learn in class.
Renovations always pose the possibility of not being finished by the scheduled date. Professors in both departments are planning ahead should this be the case, so that they may continue their lectures and labs without interruption.
“Probably the most difficult thing is trying to make contingency plans for the possibility of a delay longer than two weeks,” Smith said. “Every professor has to make those plans individually because each course has different requirements for space and equipment.”

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