Construction on an addition to Science and Technology I and II is expected to be completed by Spring 2013. Photo by Gregory Connolly

The 50,000-square-foot addition that has blocked off a significant area near Student Union Building II and will link Science and Technology I and II will be finished by Spring 2013.

The addition is part of a plan to modernize the two buildings and provide more space for laboratories, said Martha Wescoat-Andes, the associate dean of administration for the College of Science.

“The renovations are necessary because the spaces are being upgraded,” Wescoat-Andes said. “The lab areas, including office space, are being totally reconfigured. Many of the programs are all moving, so there’s a different use of space.”
Wescoat-Andes said one of the objectives of the projects is to bring together the core sciences so they’re located in the same area. The project will add significant teaching lab capacity, offering undergraduates the ability to participate in more research opportunities.

In addition to the new space, a 100,000-square-foot renovation of Science and Tech II is underway which is expected to be completed by spring 2013. A renovation of Science and Tech I is in the planning stages, though no dates have been set.

The new building will house new programs, like the forensics program, Wescoat-Andes said. She said that forensics has been particularly popular amongst students. A new school called Physics, Astronomy and Computational Sciences will be housed in Science and Tech I.

“We’re really excited about this [project],” Wescoat-Andes said. “Faculty and students and administrators have been waiting a long time, and the fact that we’ve received state funding and can build is great.”

The project is classified as a capital project, meaning the money came from the state, said David Andrews, associate manager of public relations for Mason.

Andrews said the design phase for the Science and Tech project began in February 2009, with design being completed by April 2010. Construction of the addition began in January with much of the utility work happening over winter break.

“They’re going to lay the foundation sometime in May,” Andrews said. “The actual building will rise up this summer. The building [addition] will occupy some of the empty space between Science and Tech II and the parking lot next to Student Union Building II and David King Hall.”

Andrews said safety is the number-one priority for the Facilities Office and the contractor must ensure that students and employees can get around the construction area safely.

“They fenced off sufficient area to work while maintaining the pedestrian walkways and re-routed the pedestrians,” Andrews said. “So far it’s worked out very well.”

Other renovations on the horizon include Thompson Hall and Presidents Park. The Fine Arts Building will also be renovated, though that project is not expected to begin until 2012.

“Thompson Hall is so dated that they recognize it as a building that needed to be renovated,” Andrews said. “Same thing with the Park and Fine Arts Building.”