June 28, 2012

University Opens Addition to Bailey Science Center

VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University officially opened the addition to the Bailey Science Center on Wednesday, June 27. Faculty, staff, students and members of the community came to celebrate the latest expansion on campus.

The 15,000-square-foot addition includes two 75-seat multipurpose laboratories, two 30-seat classrooms, and 22 faculty offices.

“It has been a privilege and honor to serve as interim president during the construction of this addition,” said Dr. Louis H. Levy. “Not only for the important purpose it serves to the university’s academic mission, but also on a personal note that the building is named for former VSU president Hugh C. Bailey.”

At the time the Bailey Science Center was constructed in 2001, the university’s enrollment was approximately 9,000 students. Today, enrollment has surpassed 13,000, and there is an urgent need to provide more classroom space, larger multipurpose laboratories, and faculty offices.

During the past decade, the chemistry faculty has increased from eight to 15, and the biology faculty has grown from 21 to 30. In addition, the number of biology majors has increased from 500 to more than 1,000; and 30 to 40 chemistry majors graduate each year, as compared to two or three in 2000.
“All of the labs are now in use, and for the past three years, biology and chemistry have had to house faculty in other buildings because we were out of space,” said Dr. Connie Richards, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Aside from needing faculty offices, we also began to look at ways to increase the offerings and efficiency in the lab sciences, particularly in core courses, where the size of the lecture sections had increased to accommodate our growing student body, but labs were still limited to 24 students.”

The addition will allow more students to take core science courses, which include laboratory time. The current small laboratories will be used for faculty and student research. The classroom space and laboratories will be shared by biology, chemistry and geosciences.

In attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony was Dr. William J. McKinney, who officially becomes Valdosta State’s ninth president on July 1.

“Every time I walk in a science building, I think of curiosity. I think of what happens to the minds of our students,” McKinney said. “I never wanted to leave that, and so I got incredibly lucky that for my career, and what I hope is the rest of my life, I get to be on a college campus. I am anxiously counting down the days until the first day of class, when the students come back and faculty are in these labs, that is the energy that drives us and that is the energy that sustains us.”

The architectural firm Stanley Beaman and Sears designed the addition and constructed was completed by Elkins Construction, Inc.

Additional photos available on Flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/valdostastate/sets/72157630329295388/

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