New science building in the works

by Staff

Montezuma Mesa is growing again this time with the addition of a new science laboratory building that is expected to be completed in fall 1999.

Construction is scheduled to begin in May on the 100,000-square-foot building that will be added to the northeast corner of the Chemistry-Geology building.

According to Larry Piper, a San Diego State University facilities and transportation planner, the five-story structure will include chemistry labs, geology labs, Environmental Health and Safety offices, a Public Safety student-patrol office and a campus information booth.

“The planning for this began in 1991,” Piper said.

Voters just recently approved a bond measure appropriating funds to the university, Piper said.

Pending state funding, the existing building will be renovated following the opening of the new building, Piper said.

“The old building will be renovated to include computer labs and the department offices for chemistry, geology and math and computer sciences,” Piper said.

Chemistry professor Vincent Landis is the new building coordinator for the chemistry department.

“We will have less space in the new building, but it will be better designed,” Landis said. “It will be a new, safer facility.

“We hope to get some lab space in the old building, but we don’t know yet.”

According to Landis, the present building was built without air conditioning.

“Our primary problem with the old building is ventilation,” Landis said. “We’re just running up against regulations.”

He said if it hadn’t been for air-handling requirements, the old building would just have been renovated.

The new structure will have a tower with a hood that will be up-to-code in terms of ventilation.

Landis said no accidents have ever occurred in the old building.

“We were just borderline on meeting the current requirements,” he said.

The new addition will be built in the same Southwestern/mission style as the Student Services building.

Located on the corner of College Avenue and Canyon Crest, the new building will dramatically change the entrance to the campus, Piper said.

The most recent addition to the Chemistry-Geology building, adjacent to the original structure, will have a bridge extending from the third floor to the top floor of the new science lab building.

The new structure will consist of two wings with an open court between them.

“(Like the Student Services building) it will have arches, palm trees and red tile roofs,” Piper said. “It will definitely improve that view of the campus.”

Additionally, Canyon Crest will be widened to two lanes heading westbound.

According to Piper, this is to help the traffic flow as well as accommodate the truck traffic that will be heading to the new shipping and receiving center in Parking Lot X.