Latest estimate for Science Hall completion near $25 million
Lower level said to be finished by Jan. 1
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 04:12
Canisius President John Hurley called Science Hall “clearly the biggest investment in the history of the College,” at the building's opening ceremony this fall.
He also said at the ceremony that the College had invested $40 million in the project – covering the ground level and lower floor – and estimated spending another $20 million to $40 million on floors two and three.
After talking with Carl Montante this week – the founder, president and managing director of Uniland Development, whose construction division is in charge of the project – the latest estimate appears to be on the lower end of Hurley’s quote.
“Many of the mechanical and electrical systems and so on that were necessary for the first two floors were installed will the capacity to handle all four levels,” Montante said. “When the architects estimated what the last two levels would cost, they simply divided the floor level by the cost of the first two levels. In essence, you were double-counting costs that would not have to occur during the last phases of the project.”
Uniland has worked to refine a new preliminary estimate between $24 million to $25 million. Once the new estimate is finalized, Hurley will be able to give an educated guess of when the project will be completed.
“It depends on what they come back with in terms of a dollar figure,” Hurley said. “Then we have to look at it and say ‘how can we put that together?’ How much can we raise? How much are we going to generate from internal operations? How are we going to put the package together and make that happen?’ ”
Regardless of how much the new estimate is, Hurley will still have to determine where the remaining funds will come from. The College does not currently have the source of funds to finish the project, he said.
But with the lower level’s expected completion date less than a month away – Jan. 1, according to Montante – Hurley is eager to finish the project.
“My thought after the building opened was [that] we really need to get the thing finished as soon as we can. The opening of the building is creating a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of expectation, so I’ve got to get it done as soon as I can,” Hurley said. “So we’ve got to figure out a way to make that happen.”
Professors are especially excited about the new building and the opportunities it creates.
“By having all the sciences in one place, we would be able to talk and chat and have a better sense of what each is doing and the hope is that will lead to more interdisciplinary projects,” said Jeffrey McConnell, Ph.D, interim chair of the computer science department.
McConnell believes by bringing the departments physically closer together, it will bring those students and faculty academically closer together as well.
Allyson Backstrom, Ph.D., director of the George E. Schreiner Pre-Medical Center, agreed that physical proximity to the other departments is key. Prior to the opening of Science Hall, the Pre-Medical center was located in Health Science.
“We were off on an edge, physically,” Backstrom said. “When the building is complete, we’re really going to be right in the middle of the traffic flow of all of the students in the sciences.”
Chair of the chemistry and biochemistry departments, Mariusz Kozik, Ph.D., is personally excited about the move.
“[The chemistry department] is looking forward to each chemistry faculty having his or her own research laboratory to carry out research projects with students,” Kozik said. “At present we are using teaching laboratories for research and they are not available at certain times because of scheduled classes.”
Science Hall also creates new opportunities for teaching. The classrooms are designed to be flexible and facilitate collaborative learning, with stations designed to have students communicate with each other rather than stare at a chalkboard for three hours.
“You can see science being done in this building. All the glass in the building, part of what that accomplishes is to let people see science being done,” Backstrom said. “When I walked the halls of Horan O’ Donnell, with one exception when they left the door open, I never saw students doing their research.”