The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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New CSUN science building gets go-ahead

The CSU Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new 90,000 square foot building for the College of Science and Mathematics, CSUN officials said.

The construction of the building is scheduled to begin in January 2007 and will be added to expand the College of Science and Mathematics educational objectives, said Bill Fairchild, capital programs manager and project manager of the new building.

The building should be complet by 2009.

The funding for the project is provided by Proposition 55, which was approved by voters, Jerry Stinner, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, said adding that the estimated cost of the building is $46 million.

The construction will be located south of the Botanical Gardens, and the university has begun hiring architects, he said.

“We are detailing design from now until the end of October, so we could break ground in January,” he said.

The 90,000 square feet, including corridors, bathrooms and “everything else,” is a gross estimate, but the actual program space is less than that, Fairchild said.

The actual program space is around 51 percent of the 90,000 square feet, he said.

Currently, meetings are being held with the faculty to determine where all the college’s departments will go in the new building, Fairchild said.

Students have needed this for a while, said Stinner.

“Since (the year) 2000, our student enrollment has increased by over 20 percent,” Stinner said of his college. “We’ve definitely exceeded our capacity.”

Paula Schiffman, biology professor, said the new building has created a positive buzz among faculty.

“Now we don’t have to hurl around laptops and projectors – which can be cumbersome,” she added.

The new building will have 13 “smart” lecture rooms with Internet connections and multimedia presentations available for use, Stinner said.

The rooms are dubbed “smart” because of their technological advantages, which could be resourceful for the lecture rooms.

Although hopeful about the future of the biology department – with the inclusion of the new building – more space is still needed, Schiffman said.

“We always need more space,” Schiffman said. “We hope to get more building (space) than we are actually getting. Hopefully additional construction will be done down the line.

“It’s inevitable,” she said, adding that she thinks more space will be needed.

The biology department is housed in Live Oak, Eucalyptus, Magnolia Hall and Citrus halls, while the Mathematics department is currently stationed in Santa Susana Hall.

Stinner said this will be the first time the two programs that he heads are under the same roof.

Fairchild said Live Oak Hall and Eucalyptus Hall will remain functional for the college’s other various need.

The halls were constructed 40 years ago and two additional wings, Magnolia Hall and Citrus Hall, were added about 15 years ago, Schiffman said.

The new building will also include a genetic counseling unit, a biology stockroom, nine instructional wet labs, 18 research wet labs and laboratories for DNA, immunology, electron microscopy and DNA sequencing, Fairchild said.

“From a student’s perspective, it will be great,” Schiffman said. “They will have a more modern lecture room. It’s a big improvement.”

Tigran Khachatryan, junior biochemistry major, said that he thinks the new building will be a better experience for students.

“With all the technology, students can get the most out of their education, and hopefully, next time I try to add a class, it won’t be full,” Khachatryan said.

The Biology Department’s current occupancy in Live Oak Hall and Eucalyptus Hall will be left vacant for other departments to use, Fairchild said.

The Mathematics department will fill in some of those spaces, said Stiller. And also occupy the new building.

James Hogue, biology professor and manager of biological collections, said there has always been talk of this change.

“I’m excited,” Hogue said. “In the last 12 months, it’s become a reality,”

Fairchild said there has been talk about the project for the past two to three years. In fact, he said that the project was actually approved in 2004 but the schematics had to be approved by the Board of Trustees.

Fairchild also said that the main hindrance that postponed the go-ahead from the Board of Trustees was construction cost.

“Just like houses and gas, the cost of construction has skyrocketed,” Fairchild said. “It’s increased by 30 percent and keeps going up, so it has been hard to deal with.”

OnTay Johnson can be reached at

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