“Just look at the rust around that light fixture,” said Dr. Chris Tabit, Chair of the Department of Biology, as he gestured to the ceiling in his office. “That’s because whenever it rains, water leaks through the roof.”
The Biology Building at UWG is due for renovation. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed for the half-century old building, ranging from the layout of the classrooms to the structure of the building itself. Department officials hope renovations will take approximately a year and a half to resolve those problems.
The building has had issues since it was built because it was not finished properly. According to Tabit, when the building was constructed in the early 60s, construction went over the projected budget and there was little money left to properly finish the project. Because of that issue, much of the furniture and equipment were simply moved in from other buildings rather than buying new equipment for the building.
“In fact, much of the furniture here pre-dates this 50-year-old building,” he said. “The roof leaking is obviously a huge problem. We’ve spent countless dollars trying to stop these leaks in the 20 years that I’ve been here.”
In addition to the leaks and the obvious problems of wear and tear on the building, the Department of Biology has to deal with the lack of its equipment. According to Tabit, about half the classrooms are filled with equipment useless to a biologist, since the building was originally built for the Department of Chemistry. The classrooms are full of permanently built-in attachments for Bunsen burners, and the walls have large vents built into them, similar to the TLC, the new home for the Department of Chemistry.
“None of the classrooms here are ideal for teaching the modern way, but having a building with superstructure built for chemistry makes teaching difficult,” said Tabit.
The plans for renovations are still in the infant stage. In February, architects scoured the building to determine how to proceed.
“It’s difficult because there are so many steps to this project,” he said. “First, we need to figure out what we want changed. Then we need to figure it into a budget. We still are creating the plans as we speak, which is very exciting.”
Tabit expects planning to go through March. The first renditions of the renovations will be drawn in April. The plans will continue to be tweaked for another nine months.
“We hope to be starting the actual physical renovations in January 2017,” said Tabit.
Once renovations are complete, the department will see a change in the functionality of the building and how they educate the students.