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Science Center Construction is Building Up!

June 25, 2013

CU President Michelle Howard-Vital and architect Tim Kearney inspect the roof level of the new science center.

CU President Michelle Howard-Vital and architect Tim Kearney inspect the roof level of the new science center.

Cheyney University President Michelle Howard-Vital, PASSHE Special Assistant to the Chancellor Dr. George Reed, and Claudia Cuerto and Tim Kearney of Cuerto Kearney Architects toured the New Science Center site this past week.  Also accompanying Dr. Vital were Chief of Staff Sheilah Vance, Director of Aquaculture Dr. Stephen Hughes, Dr. Saakr Eva, Chair of Natural and Applied Sciences, and key contractors. Since its groundbreaking in Spring 2011, much progress has been made on the 39,970 square-foot building. 

The facility will include standard and advanced chemistry lab spaces, biology lab spaces, math and computer science classrooms, physics classrooms, seminar rooms, a computer lab, faculty offices and a conference room. 

The planetarium located adjacent to the main lobby adds an interesting profile to the site. Architect Tim Kearney described plans for an over-sized painting of the Crab Nebula constellation as seen from outer space which will cover the planetarium entrance wall. As the visitors passed through the area, construction crews continued to work on the domed roof from internal and external vantage points. When complete, the planetarium will hold 45 fixed seats and several others which can be moved.  

The "green" building is targeted for Silver LEED certification by the U.S. Building Council. Faculty offices and meeting areas are positioned to utilize solar light and should require minimal electric lighting. Exterior wall materials include metal-clad insulated panels, blocks made from recycled glass and abundant expanses of glass windows. The interior will feature bamboo wainscoting. Highly efficient mechanical systems and recycled and local materials are other key elements. 

The main roof is lined with thick rubber material which will reflect the heat while the deep edges create cisterns for rain water recycling. The porch overlooking the Leslie Hill Pinkney Library features a roof rain garden which provides a teaching tool and also will eliminate water runoff. 

President Vital stated, “The new Science Center will help the university reposition itself and attract more students, faculty and jobs to the region. The new facility will support coursework for the University’s biology, marine biology, chemistry, general science, mathematics, and computer science programs. Our goal is that this facility will serve as a model for collaboration and creation of innovations that will support scholarship, research and the economy. The new Science Center is expected to have a positive impact on University recruitment initiatives.” 

The estimated cost of construction is $17.2 million, not including design fees. Completion is expected to be early 2014.