Fireworks to Launch WSU Social Science Building Renovation
OGDEN, Utah – The community is invited to join Weber State University for fireworks and fanfare to mark the renovation kickoff of its Social Science building, May 9 at 4 p.m. on the building’s east side.
The massive Social Science renovation is scheduled to begin immediately, and the building will reopen for classes January 2019. The old structure will be stripped down to its reinforced concrete frame and foundation. A structural analysis determined that keeping “the bones” of the building would save about $50 to $60 per square foot, or $5 million to $6 million overall, while also reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing and installing new steel and concrete.
“We've done the architectural renderings, and we will make this a phenomenal building with dynamic windows that let in the light and have a spectacular view looking out over the Great Salt Lake to the west,” said Mark Halverson, associate vice president for Facilities & Campus Planning. “We will create a real showstopper building in the front of campus.”
The building will be renamed Lindquist Hall to honor that family’s name. John E. Lindquist, president of Lindquist Mortuaries and Great Western Insurance, has gifted $5 million to help the dream become reality.
In 2016, the Utah Legislature permitted Weber State to begin the design process. In 2017, it allocated $14 million for construction, with the intent of another $15,940,000 in 2018 to complete the renovation. During construction, classes will be moved to various buildings around campus, but primarily the old Science Lab building, which will be demolished afterward.
“After more than four decades of dutifully serving our students, it’s time for our Social Science building to make way for Lindquist Hall,” said Charles A. Wight, WSU president. “The renovated structure will provide great learning opportunities at Weber State for years to come.”
The Social Science building has been a landmark at Weber State for 45 years. The heavily used building houses all 12 departments and programs in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, including archaeology, history, political science, psychology and the Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics & Public Service.
The college has 2,645 majors and provides many general education courses. Few Weber State students have graduated without taking at least one class in the building.
“We estimate that on a typical school day, about 4,500 students come in and out of the building for their classes,” said Frank Harrold, Social & Behavioral Sciences dean. “That doesn't count those who come to study, to meet with professors, to meet with clubs or to do research. So it's a very heavily used building, and it shows. The mechanical systems are just about at the end of their useful life. We have significant problems with all of them — heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.”
In addition, the building lacks adequate fire suppression and detection and does not meet current seismic standards. It’s difficult to navigate, with steep stairs, narrow halls and one small elevator for four floors. Students complain about rust-colored water, lack of study space and inadequate support for modern technology. The problems are especially difficult for courses that require science labs such as criminal justice and neuroscience.
The renovation will address all those issues. In addition, by incorporating an existing breezeway, Lindquist Hall will have an additional 13,000 square feet, which will allow for collaboration and meeting spaces.
“Winston Churchill is credited with this quote, ‘We shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us,’” Harrold said. “The new Lindquist Hall will both increase the quality of the educational experience and will promote interdisciplinary collaboration that's increasingly part of higher education. Exciting discoveries are happening at the boundaries between disciplines, and I think the new building will make that easy.”
Renovated Square Footage: 119,350
Cost: $35 million
Architect: GSBS Architects
Contractor: Big-D Construction
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