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Regents propose new science building instead of renovations

Feb. 16, 2001



Biology students fill the halls of Sid Richardson Science Building from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Chairs are bolted to the floor and, in some classrooms, the desks are disintegrating because of their old age. The air-handling system in Marrs McLean Science Building is antiquated, and in both buildings, laboratories are below modern laboratory requirements, according to Dr. David Pennington, a professor in chemistry and biochemistry.

Sid Richardson and Marrs McLean Science Buildings were built in the 1960s, when the student body at Baylor was half its current size. Now, almost every student must take at least one science class and as Dr. Ray Wilson, a biology professor, said, 'We need the room.'

The Board of Regents has already given approval for a plan that calls for the construction of a new building and renovations to the two existing science buildings. The proposed 230,000 square foot building is projected to cost $60 million while the renovation of Sid Richardson and Marrs McLean Science Buildings is estimated to cost $26.5 million, according to Ken Simons, assistant vice president and business manager.

However, because of the cost of renovations, the board has asked a group to examine the possibility of building a completely new science complex instead of renovating and connecting the two existing buildings with a new building.

This group includes architect firm, Harley Ellis Design, Simons, Dr. Ben Pierce, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Wallace Daniel, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and David Brooks, vice president for finance and administration,

Simons said the group is looking at the logistics involved with building the new complex on the site of one of the existing science buildings or on a new site.

'We just want to make sure that all the options have been reviewed and analyzed so that we can make the best recommendation because this is going to be the largest project in our history,' Simons said.

At the Faculty Forum on Thursday, President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said Baylor is trying to get 'the best possible space we can get, in the best place, for the best dollar.'

Fund raising efforts for the new science building have been put on hold until the Board of Regents meets in May to discuss the new building, according to Dr. Richard Scott, vice president for university development.

'As soon as they finish the plans and get a price, then we'll get the Fund raising going,' he said.

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