SOMERS — The University of Wisconsin-Parkside will update two science classroom/labs this summer in order to meet a growing demand in health sciences education.
The two classrooms/labs in Greenquist Hall are nearly 50 years old and built before computers became integrated into learning and students worked individually instead of collaboratively.
Students using rooms 220 and 370 work at outdated benches and then move to another classroom to use computers, which isn’t an efficient way to teach, said Parkside Vice Chancellor Scott Menke.
The $2.5 million renovation addresses the rooms’ inefficiencies, safety concerns and allows for more student use, according to the State Building Commission, which Thursday approved the project.
Parkside’s nursing programs serve as a “feeder” institution with the UW-Milwaukee’s College of Nursing. Two classrooms were recently remodeled at UW-Milwaukee’s Nursing College, and now Parkside’s nursing program will get similarly equipment so students can easily transition between the universities, said Alex Roe, a UW System planner.
The project is the last in the UW System funded in the 2017-19 state budget for improving classroom technology, Roe said.
Parkside and UW System planners initially discussed constructing a new science building and repurpose Greenquist as a less expensive alternative to remodeling Greenquist to modernize its instructional spaces, Menke said.
However, it was determined that Parkside had sufficient classroom space based on current and projected enrollment, so the campus with “work with what we have,” he said.
Roe noted that 90 percent of Parkside students taking pre-medical courses are accepted into medical schools or a related higher education institution.
“It’s a very strong academic program that allows students to go on with their careers,” he said.
The national average is approximately 40 percent, said Menke, who attributed Parkside’s success to “excellent faculty” working with students.
“The College of Natural and Health Sciences is our largest and growing, and the pre-med program leads the way with those acceptance statistics,” he said.
The CNHS accounts for about 40 percent of Parkside’s 4,400-student enrollment, and about 30 percent of the degrees Parkside issues, according to Menke.
Students are prepared to enter 13 health care fields, including dentistry, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry and occupational therapy.
The classroom renovations are scheduled to begin in October and be completed by October 2021.
Pool to be filled
The Building Commission also approved filling in the swimming pool at the Sports & Activity Center to convert it for different future use.
The pool has been closed since 2016, and while repairs were going “swimmingly,” said Roe, major problems were subsequently discovered with the pool’s walls, ballooning the initial $40,000 budget to an estimated $3.5 million.
Deciding it wasn’t worth the expense and there are other pools in the community, the pool, now in disrepair, needs to be filled in to make it safe and ready to serve a new use.
The athletic department is raising funds to acquire artificial turf and sports equipment to convert the pool into a multi-use space.
“It could be used for soccer or baseball practice, or for a number of indoor activities, Menke said.
The project is budgeted at $1.74 million to remove the bleachers, the tile from the pool deck and radiant heating units. Air handling equipment will be replaced, as will the roof’s storm drain piping.
Work is expected to begin in June and be completed by November.
Steam pipe work
Also approved was a $4.85 million project that will replace steam heating piping in various campus locations and waterproof the leaky portions of the 50-year-old tunnels for the steam heat piping.
That work is to begin in June and be completed by June 2021.
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