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Science building moves into the future with renovations

July 05, 2016

Renovations for the north wing of Mendel Center this summer are far more than cosmetic and will help the academics for students in electrical and computer engineering programs, the same way that renovations in the south wing last summer helped students in civil and mechanical engineering, said Dean Allan Weatherwax.

“We’re basically taking four outdated classrooms and making three great classrooms,” Weatherwax said.

All of the new classrooms will have furniture that can be reconfigured to meet the needs of students and teachers studying different subjects who want to work in groups or individually. However, each will have unique characteristics to go along with Internet jacks and ports.

The largest renovated classroom will have room for 40 students with multiple projectors and screens to go with the furniture that can be reconfigured.

The second classroom is designed specifically for electronics and electrical engineering courses and will work well for computer engineering.

The third classroom will be mid-size for 20-25 students and used for seminars with full technology capabilities.

Even though a classroom is being eliminated, the renovations are creating more room for students, Weatherwax said. The configurations were so poor in the old classrooms, they utilized less than 30 percent of available space but the new classrooms will have 90 percent utilization.

Renovations to the north wing also include a new study lounge area and an electronics project room for students to use outside of normal class time. 

“We want to foster interaction,” Weatherwax said.

There is also work is being done on the second and third floors of Mendel where the four atriums at the ends of the hallways are being updated for study space with tables and whiteboards.

“The spaces were designed with the students’ needs in mind,” Weatherwax said. “With so many students coming in we’re trying to create places for students to work together or study individually,” Weatherwax said. 

Administrators are beginning to explore potential renovations to the second and third floors of Mendel.

“This is part of a longer-term plan to renovate Mendel in its entirety,” Weatherwax said.

The current project is designed by DSK Architects + Planners, of Concord, Mass. Channel Building Company, of Wilmington, Mass., is the contractor.

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