Mary Baldwin College is about to embark on a major renovation of its science center. Phase 1 will cost more than $2-million, but a federal grant is picking up half the bill.
At the Pearce Science Center, it's all about research.
School of Science Director Paul Deeble said, "We require every student at Mary Baldwin in the school of science to do a senior research project."
But the building itself doesn't support that goal.
Facilities Director Brent Douglass said, "These large classroom style settings are not really the right type of setting for that type of work."
Deeble said, "You'll see occasionally a class going on with student researchers in the back of the room trying to complete their work. A faculty member has to come in to help mentor that project."
It could be because the School of Science was built around 1970.
Douglass said, "At the time it was a very forward looking modern building, but that was forty some years ago."
So the four story building is getting a facelift in two phases. The first phase focuses on the first floor. Contractors will knock down walls, replace floors, ceilings, and lights and create an accessible public entrance. There'll be an imaging suite, and room for research.
Deeble said, "Its dedicated research space so the student knows that types of equipment they need will always be there and will be dedicated to research."
Phase 2 of the project is still in the planning stage, but will focus on the upper floors. Almost 50-percent of prospective students are interested in science majors.
Deeble stated, "This building renovation will help us draw more students to our program. I think our programs are very effective as they are, and will only improve following this renovation."