ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
Butler University’s Commission on the Sciences is in the process of preparing a presentation to recommend how to accommodate more science students as the university grows.
The commission meets once a month until February, when it presents to the Provost and President.
“Our number one challenge is to create more space; we have experienced a lot of growth in natural science majors,” said Jay Howard, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the commission’s leader. “We need more space to deliver the same quality of education.”
Howard said one opportunity for more space would exist if the College of Business gets a new building and natural sciences reclaims the Holcomb Building.
“We won’t be putting the business faculty out on the street or anything like that,” he said.
In the 2010 campus master plan, there was a proposal to convert the library to soft space, interactive space and classrooms, said Craig Hardee, director of planning, design and construction.
After the commission met in the spring, it changed its recommendation to keep the library, Hardee said.
“It’s very clear that it is heavily used as a study space and for accessing resources electronically,” Howard said. “The hard copy volumes aren’t getting as much circulation, so we may not keep those stacks in that place.”
Sophomore Luke Gallion is a chemistry major and a commission representative. Along with the rest of the science students and faculty, he uses the study space frequently.
The master plan lays out plans for a new addition to Lilly Hall, as well as renovations to the current building.
“We’ll be arranging the labs so that new styles can be utilized in lab spaces,” Hardee said. “The building needs to be brought up to current codes and standards.”
The university still needs to determine how much space it needs, then design and fundraise for the new addition before it can be built. The project will take, at minimum, three years, Hardee said.
The commission also needs to estimate the percentage of students in the growing student body that will take classes in natural science.
“The president said we’re going to continue to grow, but I don’t think anyone’s nailed down the final number,” Howard said. “Right now we’re identifying the resources we have and the needs we’re going to have in light of the projected growth of the university.”