By CAROLINE SOFFER, Staff Writer
Photo by SARAH GU
Bryn Mawr College’s Park Science Center, the College’s primary academic building for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes, began major renovations this summer in an effort to create a science center that better fits the needs of current Bryn Mawr students.
In what was described as Phase One of a multi-phase project, the renovation will add a 10,000 square-foot addition to the building, as well as renovating existing space to create new classrooms and study areas. Later phases will focus on renovating the Collier Science Library and creating an outdoor garden to benefit local wildlife.
The Park renovation will also hold the building up to prestigious LEED Silver standards, a national rating system designed to test the environmental impacts of buildings. Environmentally sustainable aspects of the project include LED lighting throughout the building and use of recyclable building materials.
Construction is ongoing and will continue into the fall of 2018. Though administrators have taken precautions to simplify the logistics of the construction, students have described the renovation as “difficult.”
Maise Shepard, a sophomore and Physics Major at Bryn Mawr, said, “In all of my professor’s lectures you can hear a power drill in the background.” Bryn Mawr Sophomore and Math major Megan Winner agreed, adding, “[the construction] has made getting to my classes a lot harder, because only one door is open, and my classes are on the opposite side of that door.”
Bryn Mawr math Professor Daisy Sudparid said that the construction has been difficult on staff because classes had to be moved around from their typical teaching locations to be further away from noise and construction. On the first day of classes in September, signs were posted around Park directing students to commonly used classrooms through back hallways and side entrances.
To incorporate alums into the renovation process, Bryn Mawr has used the “Beyond Expectations” fundraising campaign to keep past and present Bryn Mawr students updated on the construction’s progress. Some Bryn Mawr alums have expressed concerns about what changes the renovations will bring.
Sara Karpinski, ‘09, commented, “I got lost in that old building so many times. It was an absolute maze.” Many also mentioned memories of Hell Week taking place in and around the building. Robin Shaugnessy ‘85 mentioned that she “loved the murals in the Chemistry Library.”
Bryn Mawr students were advised at Room Draw last spring to consider the Park construction timeline in their housing preferences, but many students chose to live in nearby Radnor Hall regardless.
Though the construction has been difficult, students are optimistic on the progress. “I’m excited to see the new building.” Shepard added, “It’ll be great to take higher level Physics classes in a beautiful new space.”
For updates on the progress of the Park renovation, visit the Bryn Mawr website.