Thinking ahead helps science students stay on top of most recent advances
January 15, 2009
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
When plans were drawn in the late 1990s to add two buildings to the Benedictine University campus, the late Harold Moser, who served on the University’s Board of Trustees, insisted that both buildings have basements that could be finished at a later date if the need arose for additional classroom space.
That need came to pass, and Moser’s foresight proved fortuitous.
Construction crews recently completed a $2.57 million renovation of the lower level of the Michael and Kay Birck Hall of Science. The project included additional classroom, laboratory, storage, office and study space.
“Crews have been working every day for 10 weeks to complete the project by the time students returned for the Spring semester,” said Chad Treisch, project director for Campus Services. “They worked every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day. The entire team did a very good job.”
The 10,644-square foot project features five new classrooms each accommodating more than 30 students, a 50-student lecture hall, a seminar room that can accommodate 20 students, a computer science teaching laboratory, two smaller laboratories for chemistry and physics, and three collaborative student spaces.
“We now have additional space to support our expanding science enrollments,” said Ralph Meeker, acting dean of the College of Science. “We have more than 800 students who are majoring in science and hundreds more who are enrolled in science courses at any given time, so the additional space is a real benefit.”
The added office space will also allow College of Science faculty whose offices were located in Scholl Hall to relocate to Birck.
“This will mark the first time since the College of Science was established in 2005 that all of our faculty will be together in the same building,” Meeker said.
All the classrooms are equipped with Information Technology support and the entire project boasts energy efficient lighting and heating. Each room is also equipped with sensors so that the lights turn off when the room is vacant.
“We wanted to be as ‘green’ as possible,” Treisch said.
The project also includes thorough sprinkler coverage and a third egress that meet more stringent fire codes than existed when the building was first constructed in 2000.
The architect on the project was DLR Group of Chicago. Contractors included KJWW Engineering Consultants of Naperville, International Contractors, Inc. of Elmhurst and Henricksen & Company Inc. of Itasca.
“While this project is a testament to the hard work of many people, it really is about ensuring that our students have access to the best facilities and best science education possible so that they can give back to the community as doctors, teachers and researchers after they graduate,” said Charles Gregory, executive vice president at Benedictine University.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education
recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes
magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business
as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.