Noyes construction continues

Construction continues on Noyes Lab on the Quad Patrick Traylor

Construction continues on Noyes Lab on the Quad Patrick Traylor

By Sam Cowin

Noyes Laboratory, the home of the University’s chemistry department, is in the process of undergoing a major facelift.

Robert Taylor, manager of operations for the school of chemical sciences, said the renovations that began in October will relocate the old library to the first floor, add two new classrooms to the first floor, replace outdated electrical appliances, and build two state-of-the-art labs. The new lab specifically for chemistry students will contain 40 workstations and general student use labs will have 84 total workstations.

“The library is due to be finished this June, while the labs will be completed by March of 2007,” Taylor said.

Tom Rauchfuss, director of the school of chemical sciences, cited many reasons for the renovations.

“The labs needed to be larger to meet the new safety requirements for students,” Rauchfuss said. “Newer experiments that are more interesting to students also demand larger labs with more modern equipment.”

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Steve Zimmerman, interim head of the Department of Chemistry, said the new labs will help recruit new faculty members to the department.

“Potential professors used to come to the building and see labs that looked like ancient museums,” Zimmerman said. “The new labs will be much more attractive because they will be more modern and have state of the art equipment.”

Noyes Laboratory was built in 1901 and cost $100,000 to construct, according to the Facilities and Management Web site.

The budget for the current renovations is about $14 million with many hidden costs, Rauchfuss said. The funding for the project is coming from various sources including the University and private donors.

The project was planned carefully and there have been no problems staying within the budget, he said.

While the general consensus is that the end result of the renovations will improve the facilities at Noyes, students and faculty have divergent views regarding the construction process.

Eric Benz, sophomore in LAS, is excited about the renovations and said that they are necessary, and that the side effects of the construction process have been minimal.

“The labs in Noyes were definitely older than some of the other labs on campus,” Benz said. “Being a science major, it’s nice to see they’re improving the building where I have many of my classes. You can hear the noise from the construction during class, but it’s not horrible at all. The teacher usually jokes about it, and then we just ignore it.”

Jacqueline Snowsky, sophomore in LAS, finds the noise from the construction more distracting.

When the windows are open in her classrooms on the Quad, Snowsky said she can hear the noise from the construction throughout the class period.

The construction to Noyes also has implications on the future of infrastructure improvements in the chemistry department and throughout the University.

“The addition to Noyes is a vote of confidence for the future of undergraduate education in the chemical sciences,” Rauchfuss said. “It is also an experiment in renovating outdated buildings on the Quad.”

Rauchfuss and Taylor added that the current Noyes renovations are just the beginning of the process to modernize and improve the chemical science department’s facilities.

“This project is not the end to the renovation process by any means,” Taylor said.