The Potential Merits of a New Science Building
For a few years, there have been plans to tear down Dana Science center and rebuild it with a newer, more updated facility called The Center for Integrated Sciences. President Glotzbach in a recent interview told the Skidmore News he is hopeful about this project, and said “I’d say we’re on track regarding the science building [approval and construction]”. While the President did not say this, the project is widely consider an effort to compete with nearby Liberal Arts schools, such as Bard, which updated their center in 2007. The project at Skidmore involves completely gutting the inside of Dana, tearing down Harder Hall and adding an additional 115,000 square feet. The new building is designed to include 46 research labs, 16 classrooms and meeting rooms, 22 teaching labs, an open atrium, many study locations, computer labs and an idea lab.
A major concern to proceeding with the project is that the money could be better allocated to other projects around school, such as modernizing the residential halls, improving the gym (a project already in the pipeline), or adding much needed classroom space. Another area that students think should be a priority is the residence halls, and by investing in newer residential halls it would be an investment in the quality of life of students. This year there was a critical shortage of dorms rooms, and some common rooms were replaced with new dorm rooms. Yet when the dorms are consistently ranked highly among other colleges (According to Niche.com), it seems that it is an improvement that can wait until the new science building is finished. The science building could provide a competitive edge to Skidmore that a new dorm building would not, even if a dormitory would be vastly less expensive.
By building a new science facility, Skidmore would be investing in the future, as well as the academics, of our students by having newer technologies for them to use in classes. There has been a 50% increase in the amount of science majors at Skidmore in the last decade, and by upgrading their facilities, it would be another way to attract future students to matriculate to Skidmore. It would also allow other sciences not currently included in Dana right now to be with the other disciplines, such as exercise science. Also, science students publish heavily. Their research and reports at Skidmore help to uplift the academic reputation of the school.
The new science building is a really important project, and it is hard to justify another project as being more important. Glotzbach also stressed that other issues would not be diminished, saying, “I don’t think [the science building] will affect other projects”. There are worries of the costs being turned into a large tuition increase but the President's office told us that these concerns are unfounded. The website for the new building states that a gift of $25 million will be enough to get naming rights of the whole center, and $5 million to get the name of the atrium in your own. Glotzbach, believes that a donor will step up to make that gift, which seems entirely possible based on the generosity in regards to other buildings on campus. However, the President has been looking for a major donor for years and one has still not come forward. In a recent meeting with the Skidmore News, the President explained that the college is looking at the debt market to finance the rest of the project. While Skidmore's bond rating is high, many schools have had financial trouble after leveraging too much on new flashy buildings. Although at first, it seemed like there were more pressing issues that the school could deal with, after some serious thought, the Editorial Board supports the school in its endeavor to upgrade a major building on campus.