Since 1972 the Science I building has stood along the south side of the California State University, Stanislaus campus.
Back then, Science I was a campus jewel. Today, the dilapidated 50,000 square foot two-story building fails to meet state building codes and seismic standards.
But in just a year or two Science I will be back up to par — and provide a new home to two CSU Stanislaus departments.
Budget committees in both houses of the state Legislature last week approved the issuance of new state bonds to fund just three of six requested health and life-safety CSU renovation projects, including the CSU Stanislaus Science I retrofit. The bonds are now included in the 2010-2011 state budget and the Science I project can proceed once Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the final budget this summer, likely breaking ground in early 2011.
CSU Stanislaus President Ham Shirvani, who was in the audience for the May 27 Senate subcommittee vote, cheered the news.
“This project is critical to meeting the health care needs of the region,” Shirvani said. “I am so pleased that the Legislature has recognized its importance and the importance of investing in higher education in order to prepare students for the workforce and boost California’s economy.”
The $18 million Science I renovation will create 200 construction related jobs as workers seismically retrofit the building and bring the facility up to state building code standards. Science I will become more efficient in lighting, ventilation, water use and waste flow.
Inside, some wet labs will be renovated into classrooms and offices, providing a new home for two departments in the College of Human and Health Services. The Nursing and Social Work departments will shift from being spread across campus —with offices, classrooms and laboratories in distant corners of the school grounds — to being centralized in a single building.
“An important element of this project is that it will bring our faculty and our students closer together by putting offices in close proximity to classrooms and seminar areas,” said Margaret Tynan, chair of the Department of Social Work graduate program. “This interaction not only enhances our department, but the graduate culture of the university.”
The consolidation of the Nursing and Social Work departments is seen as crucial to the departments’ future. The move will prepare the programs for growth, allowing CSU Stanislaus to help meet the region’s need for health care and social work professionals.
The move will also better the quality of instruction for students, according to Peggy Hodge, endowed chair of the CSU Stanislaus Department of Nursing.
“Not only will we be able to bring our clinical lab and office spaces together in one building, but we will also have a new, state-of-the-art simulation lab that will be used to augment clinical experiences for our nursing students,” Hodge said. “I am excited about the expansion opportunities this expansion will provide for our department.”
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