Chemistry lab renovation plans


AUSTIN KRIEGER | krieg004@rangers.uwp.edu

Our chemistry labs in Greenquist Hall received a bit of a makeover over winter break and will continue to revamp over the next few semesters. Associate Professor Dr. Lori Allen and Dean Emmanuel Otu are involved in overseeing the renovations on the department’s behalf.

These renovations are needed to stay in par with modern equipment, for both safety and educational reasons. As mentioned in the Presentation to Leadership Assembly, April 25, 2016, the total cost is $1.3 million. The renovation began with the demolition in mid December of last year and the first construction in mid January.  

The proposal

The first mention of improvements began a little more than three years ago. UW-Parkside invited construction consultants to look at the prospect of adding onto Greenquist hall, in the hope to expand our overall enrollment. After looking at the building, the consultants suggested a renovation to optimize and modernize the spaces already being used. This was a much cheaper and efficient cost for the university.

A universal lab

The first moves towards demolition and construction then came after the state of Wisconsin allocated money towards UW schools for advancement, almost exactly three years ago. After the chairs of UW-Parkside’s Science Department discussed possible plans, they motioned for the current renovations to take place, integrating all the subfields in a universal laboratory. As Dean Otu of the chemistry department put it, “We noticed there was an overlap in materials,… and rather than duplicate or possibly triplicate material, we design a space where they could be used by all.”  

New plans

Two instructional labs are being completely gutted and redesigned to optimize square footage. In addition to the labs, a few preparation rooms are part of the upgrade. New overhead white lighting, fume hoods, tables and up-to-date equipment are all included as well. Dr. Allen explains that “this renovation allows for students to work in teams, much like it would be in the professional world.”  

Long-term benefits

A key aspect of the renovations is the diversity that the new labs have to offer. No longer will each of the different sciences have to use individual rooms or equipment. An overlap in needs for utilities and equipment was noticed in the planning process of renovations, and it was decided that the new lab work space would be inclusive to all different subfields working in Greenquist Hall.  

A Professional Environment

Not only will these revamped rooms provide a more 21st century version of labs and equipment, but also simulate a more professional setting for students in the college. Both cosmetically and functionally, the updates boost a close representation of what it would be like to work in a professional lab for a real employer. As in most professional laboratories, scientists often work in teams in a single lab to answer a specific question or reach a common goal. These labs are designed to better prepare students for working in a professional setting and prepare them for the real working world.

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