A planning committee has been formed to generate ideas for a new science building on campus that will enhance student-faculty interactions and provide improved, interdisciplinary teaching laboratories and classrooms.
Chaired by Daniel Jelski, dean of the School of Science and Engineering, the committee includes representatives from multiple academic departments that will have faculty offices in the new building – Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics and Physics, so that there can be as much input during the initial planning stages as possible.
“Science learning has become more hands-on and collaborative,” said Mary Beth Collier, executive assistant to the provost and a member on the committee. “We want good, small gathering areas for students, places where people can formally and informally learn.”
In addition to Collier and Jelski, the committee members are: Alex Bartholomew (Geology), Tarun Biswas (Physics), Shafiul Chowdhury (Geology), Daniel Freedman (Chemistry), Julio Gonzalez (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Richard Halpern (Physics), David Hobby (Mathematics -Chair), David Lavallee (Provost), Keqin Li (Computer Science), John McEnrue (Facilities Design and Construction), Tom Nolen (Biology), Stacie Nunes (Physics, AMC/C-STEP), Mike Otis (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Larry Rowe (Physics), John Shupe (Facilities Management), Robert Trahan (Academic Computing), Fred Vollmer (Geology) and Paul Zuckerman (Computer Science).
To determine what kind of space would best benefit New Paltz, members of the committee have begun touring recently built science buildings at both private and public colleges. Efforts will be made to ensure the new science building is as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible, while at the same time lending itself to students working together.
“A well-designed building is all about ideas,” said Collier. “You really have to think about the space.”
John Shupe, assistant vice president of Facilities Management, member of the planning committee, and co-chair of the Campus Facilities Planning Task Force, noted that the new science building, to be located where the Plattekill Parking Lot currently is, would act as a gateway to New Paltz. The building will be the first thing visitors see when they arrive on campus, playing into the Facilities Master Plan’s aim at improving the first impression of campus. “You’ll realize immediately you’re on a great campus,” said Shupe.