Engineers, scientists to get shuffled

Eden Cohen, Bri Aultz, News Editor, Copy Editor

Administrators and department heads are planning to relocate offices and classrooms, to both students’ benefit and detriment.

Engineering Technology Division Director Jerry Samples said the engineering, chemistry and biology departments are shuffling space around to better accommodate needs.

The engineering department is to be moved to the Engineering and Sciences Building’s basement, as well as keep their current wing, Samples said.

The chemistry department is to be moved to the building’s ground floor, while the biology department is to be removed from the building altogether, Samples said.

Biology professor Christine Dahlin said she is looking forward to the move and renovation. She said  biology space renovation is likely to happen within the next year.

Dahlin said that the laboratory and research spaces in biology are decades old and do not make efficient use of space.

“Biology students will be able to look forward to beautiful new spaces, new technology and efficient and practical use of space,” Dahlin said.

She spoke enthusiastically about the improvements on behalf of the biology faculty.

“We are excited because our research and teaching spaces will be updated and more effective,” she said.

“For example, the teaching spaces are expected to have movable tables that are technology-accessible, which will give us more teaching flexibility as opposed to the current stationary work stations we have now,” she said.

“The lighting in the rooms will also be better and brighter,” said Dahlin.

“We also have a very active group of researchers in biology, and now we will have modernized research labs that will be able to accommodate faculty and the cadre of students that work with us,” says Dahlin.

Junior Brooke Toner has taken both Biology I and II as a part of her psychology major, and also says that the laboratories are dated. She said that the renovation will improve the learning experience, and students will profit from the updates.

The moving may lead to some problems, however.

While the building is being renovated and departments are moving, professors will have less access to laboratories for classes, Samples said. Professors will have to find alternative ways to teach classes during renovation, such as showing students equipment and then giving students data.

Although the renovation will lead to temporary problems, the changes will ultimately be for the better.

“Everyone will be happier on the other side,” Samples said.

Engineering students are to gain three classrooms and a computer lab from the change. They also are to get classrooms suited to their needs.

Engineering work requires large desks, Samples said, which are not available in most classrooms. Students will have an easier time working with larger desks after the change.

Senior Alyssa Oswald said she thinks the changes should have been done a while ago.

The building houses some of the most difficult majors, she said, and its students deserve a nice building.

Oswald said the engineering department needs more space. The engineering program at Pitt-Johnstown is supposed to be widely known, she argued. It should have a building to match.

The renovations and relocations are still in preliminary phases, Samples said. They have had their first meeting with architects, so the next step is for the architects to compose sketches and estimate a cost.

Samples said his department will probably not relocate until mid-January.