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Overcrowding spurs expansion

Feb. 6, 2001

Computer science, engineering building too small for classes

By LACY ELWOOD

Reporter

Fund raising has begun to expand the Robert M. and Louise Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building. The L-shaped building will be turned into a square facility to alleviate its overcrowded classrooms.

Dr. Benjamin S. Kelley, dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, said the construction costs are estimated at $7.5 million. Kelley said plans for the building were confirmed about a year ago. He plans to be in the building by the fall of 2005.

Last November, Houston-based Reliant Energy contributed $500,000 to the project after the need for a new building was brought to the attention of Robert Gibbs, president of the Reliant Energy Foundation and a Baylor graduate.

'I knew that if we could step forward and back the request it would make a significant difference,' Gibbs said.

Dr. Don Gaitros, professor and chairman of the department of computer science, said an increase in enrollment has caused overcrowded classrooms.

'Some of our junior and senior classes have over 40 students,' Gaitros said. 'There are only three classrooms in the building that hold more than 30 students, and two of those are shared with the engineering department.'

Gaitros said the school is attempting to increase the number of faculty to decrease class size.

Amy Young, a Houston junior and engineering major, said adding faculty members could help with scheduling problems.

'Hopefully, by getting a new building, they can hire more faculty so they can teach more classes,' Young said. 'They only offer certain classes certain semesters. Sometimes they won't offer them, so you have to wait another semester to take the class, and that prolongs how long we will be here.'

The current building was completed in April 1988. Kelley said the school of 750 students and 25 faculty members is now 'bursting at the seams.'

'I'm sure when we moved into it, there was an ample amount of space, but we have grown since then,' Kelley said. 'We're having to double up on [classrooms and offices]. I suspect when the new building is built, we'll fill it up or come close.'