For about three years, students and faculty have been anxiously awaiting the completion of the Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation. The initial goal of the project was to have the building ready for use by the start of the fall 2013 semester and according to the Facilities Design and Construction Project Coordinator Allen Bradberry, development is on pace to do so.
Starting in 2010, the construction of the new center has been a long process. The construction has gone smoothly with no major issues, Bradberry said. Work is ongoing, but has begun to transition out.
“They’re phasing out now,” Bradberry said, referring to the construction. “As you wrap up the mechanicals or any of the piping systems, those guys are moving on. And the painters and the hardware guys that are putting doors on and some of those finishing touches, they’re in there working hard and obviously they phase out as their work comes to completion. So it is kind of a transitional thing for the different trades and different phases of construction you are in through the project.”
As the construction workers fade out, faculty and staff will begin to move in along with all of the new furniture and equipment.
“We are taking deliveries right now of furniture and scientific equipment,” Bradberry said. “We are scheduling that accordingly and will be moving furniture and equipment all throughout the summer months. We anticipate moving personnel, staff and faculty starting the first of June.”
Casey Raymond is an assistant professor of chemistry at Oswego State, as well as the chair of the science planning committee, which required him to sit in on every meeting about the project. He has had a large role in the design and in programming and planning elements, so he is well aware of the interesting challenge that lies ahead for him and the rest of the facility when they have to move all of their equipment over to Shineman Center.
“We have got a pretty reasonable plan; for the most part faculty and staff have been very understanding that it’s going to take us time,” Raymond said. “We are being aggressive. We would like to have almost all of the lab equipment moved by Fourth of July. Our biggest concern is to get all of the teaching laboratory equipment moved first, so that everybody has time to get it setup in the new building and get adjusted to the new building before we have to teach fall semester.”
Both Bradberry and Raymond are confident they will accomplish their end goals, as the project has experienced no major issues so far. However, there was one major change made requested by the campus, but according to Raymond it was a change that had to be done.
Due to an anticipated increase of student enrollment in the sciences, smaller classrooms were turned into laboratories, Bradberry said. It was something that Raymond saw might need to happen early on in the planning and design phases because statistics showed that biological sciences reached their 2015 projection of students a couple years ago and continued to grow. After the committee realized they might not have the space for these introductory courses, they met with the administration and the decision was made at the provost level, according to Raymond.
“We created at the ground floor a new additional research space for biological sciences that is more dry field type research based,” Raymond said. “And then we took the space on the first floor and made a research base for student projects that is more wet insensitive sinks, fume hoods and so forth. Then made a new introductory wet teaching laboratory that could be used for introductory chemistry courses, general chemistries, basic organic, but it could also be used for freshmen biology and microbiology.”
At the moment there are no more foreseen changes to be made to the facility, especially since there is no more extra space, but Raymond understands that the degree of programs are always changing and planned ahead for it. The laboratories were designed to be flexible so they can be shifted around to accompany whichever program needs it most.
One of the biggest elements fueling the new Shineman Center currently and after it is complete is the $5 million donation made by Richard S. Shineman’s wife, Barbara Palmer Shineman. This donation has allowed the center to have all of the latest technologies and equipment, but both Bradberry and Raymond said that the donation’s true impact will not come until after the construction.
“We had the construction dollars set aside anyways, so the construction was going to progress regardless,” Bradberry said. “How that will impact the sciences and the science program will be that long term continued use of the dollars and how it supports the programs after we open the building.”
“Everybody on the ground in the faculty and staff world is still sort of waiting to see, because it is an outstanding donation and pretty exciting to have it, but I don’t think all of the details have been worked out of how that money is going to be allocated or when all of the funds will be completely available for us to utilize,” Raymond said. “Sometimes those donations are phased in over a year or two and so I think we’re all just kind of waiting to see the details that Barb Shineman and the research foundation settle on in terms of how those funds should be best utilized for the campus and sciences.”
When the construction of the Shineman Center comes to a close, there will still be work to be done with tearing down Snygg Hall. Bradberry addressed the rumors of the building being imploded or taken down with a wrecking ball, stating that it will be systematically deconstructed with track excavators. It is a process that has to been done carefully due to the close proximity to Shineman Center. Bradberry said that the demolition of Snygg Hall will begin in the fall 2013 semester and will finish in the following spring semester when it will be turned into a new parking lot.
For the most part, many students and faculty are excited to finally be able to use the new building. As someone who gets to work in it, Raymond already foresees many benefits.
“We’ll all be under one roof, so all of the sciences will be together in one building,” Raymond said. “There are a lot of places for faculty to interact. There are a lot of places for faculty and students to interact. There are places for students to hangout and work on group projects. We will now have labs at modern standards to support the kinds of teaching and research we have been trying to do in 40-year-old labs. That is going to be really exciting.”
-Published in The Oswegonian