Construction crews are waiting for the end of spring semester to start on the demolition of Buildings 3 and 4, which will be replaced by the Tracy A. Hall Science Center, set to open in the fall of 2016.
The demolition of Buildings 3 and 4, which have housed many of the math and engineering classes, leads some students to ask where these classes and staff offices will move to.
“The big question since January has been, where are you going to move these people? Students in these programs have been worried about it since January,” said Davis campus senator Tyler Hall. He added that the developmental math courses have been reduced from the 200-300 offered last fall to an estimated 100 for fall 2014.
Kathryn Van Wagoner, director for the developmental math program, was not able to confirm the exact number of classes that will be available, but she affirmed the reduction of the course offerings.
Van Wagoner said the reduction in classes had nothing to do with the buildings being torn down, but rather the change in WSU’s assessment and placement policy. WSU ended the policy that required students to take their development courses within their first three semesters this past January.
“The assessment and placement policy was basically requiring students to enroll in math and stay enrolled, and now that there isn’t anything requiring students, those who are maybe more math-avoidant will take advantage of that,” Van Wagoner said.
Van Wagoner said she would add classes if students enrolled in them and didn’t think finding classroom space would be a problem.
“We have two classrooms in Lind (Lecture Hall) that will be ours and one classroom in Lampros Hall that will be ours to use,” she said.
Hall said he doesn’t buy Van Wagoner’s reasoning.
“The removal of the development placement policy shouldn’t have any effect on people’s need to take math for graduation,” he said.
Hall added that, in any bureaucratic system, he believes it becomes difficult to get space back or money back once it is gone, which multiplies problems once more students begin to register for classes later in the summer.
“As we progress forward into July, these stress cracks will start popping a little bit more and little bit harder,” Hall said.
David Matty, dean of the WSU College of Science, said portables will be used for the classrooms and faculty offices. The portables will be placed on the south lawn next to the existing science building. Matty said there will be no significant reduction in course offerings from last fall semester.
“We’ve been working for the last couple months really hard to try and make sure all the classrooms we need will be available,” Matty said. “It’s not optimal, it’s not what we’re used to, but we will be able to handle all the students who need to take our classes.”
David Ferro, dean of the College of Applied Science & Technology, said his college is going to lose about 21,000 square feet of classroom space, and will try to make up space through utilizing the portables currently at the Davis campus. He said that once the new building is complete, the College of Science will gain the south end of the Engineering Technology Building, but will still need more space down the road.
“We will be in a holding pattern for two years, trying to find ways to accommodate all the courses,” Ferro said. “We would want to be on either the next building construction phase that the university is going to embark on, or perhaps the one after that.”
Some students expressed concerns over the lack of transparency during this transition.
“If that’s the case, I’m happy to spend more time working on it,” Ferro said. “At this point, we’ve only just solidified what’s going to be happening. If it feels like a little last-minute and people don’t feel like they know what’s going on, we haven’t known what’s going on.”
Ferro added that as an engineer, solving problems like this is common for him. He said he is confident WSU will be able to provide the classes even though things might be tight for two years.