IUP Announces $90 Million Math and Science Building

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has recently announced that it plans to build a new Math and Science Building come 2022 which will cost $90 million. While this sticker price is indeed a shocking number there are a number of things to consider when forming an opinion about this new project.

 

This new building will replace two current and one previous building on campus. It will replace Leonard Hall, which has already been demolished along with Walsh Hall and Weyandt Hall. The new building will also feature a greenhouse, planetarium, and outside garden/outdoor classroom area. The University also plans on making this building of an example of environmental consciousness with its goal to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design “silver” certificate whom’s standards are set by the United States Green Building Council.

 

Also, a majority of this money was raised through the Office of Alumni and Friends. Not only during the year, but specifically during the Celebration of Philanthropy in which one IUP Alumni couple donated $23 million, specifically to the new building project; their donation was the single largest donation IUP has every singly received. This project is not a new one however, it is part of the Universities “Imagine Unlimited” campaign in which they have plans to broaden and better the university with updated buildings, better sources for students from major exploration, and expanded national presence, just to name a few.

(Photo curtsey of IUP)

This is also very timely since the conditions of the buildings are in past repair. Weyandt does not have air conditioning during the warmer weeks and has a faltering heating system during the colder months making it difficult for students to focus and function properly in labs and lectures. Leonard, which was torn down at the later part of last year, had not been in use in the last two years that I have been here, was an eye sore in the Oak Grove and had to begun to smell- even from the sidewalks- stale and of mold, common with dilapidated buildings. And of course, was not being used by the student population.

Photo courtesy of Indiana Gazette

When you think of the price of much of the equipment found in math and science buildings it does make sense that this project would be extravagant. However, in my modest opinion $90 million does sound outlandish. I understand the need- trust me I do. Especially, when it is considered that IUP is a Liberal Arts school meaning that every student must take classes in math and science to meet their LA requirements. But the greenhouse, planetarium, and outdoor learning space sounds extravagant especially when there are classrooms and buildings on campus that are also in despearate need of repair. Ackerman Hall, for example, one of my class rooms has a ceiling that is leaking so badly that most of the students have to sit on the right side of the classroom to avoid the leaking. Stright, where math and computer science is, which is not part of this remodel, has classrooms that are mostly windowless and poor air circulation which means most of the rooms are too hot due to the computers.

 

While I am excited for this remodel, though I will not get to enjoy it, and believe that it will help make IUP more competitive in education, I think that funds for this project could be more evenly spread throughout the university to better all subjects and fields.