Although renovations are currently underway at Ball State University’s Cooper Science Building, there are years of planning and preparation behind it. Jim Lowe, associate vice president of facilities, planning and management at Ball State, said the conversation about Cooper Science began in 2014.
“These discussions continued until we decided at the university to address Cooper’s needs through three phases of work,” Lowe said. “The first phase was to build a new building – we built the building of the health professions.”
Lowe said that when the plans for the health professions building were made and construction began, a health college was formed, “so the weather was perfect.”
Several departments felt at home in the building of health professions, such as nursing, social work, athletic training, counseling psychology, speech therapy, and audiology, making more room in Cooper Science for other departments to move around construction.
“We have determined that the approach for Phase 2 is to build another new building – the Foundation Science Building, [where] we would move chemistry and biology, “Lowe said.
As for Phase Three, Lowe said it was “finally” time to turn our attention to the Cooper Science Building. According to Kevin Smith, vice dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Humanities, after the departments of biology and chemistry moved, other departments managed to move to the eastern end of Cooper Science.
“Other departments that were at the western end of Cooper, particularly geography and physics, geography and meteorology, and then astronomy, moved their offices to the eastern end,” Smith said. “So this gave us the opportunity to begin work on a major restoration of the western half of Cooper.”
Smith said the area just east of the planetarium is undergoing significant restructuring, demolished and rebuilt.
“What is going to happen is that the space is going to be rebuilt and then next summer and it’s going to be some complicated maneuvering, but you have geography and meteorology in that space.” [and] physics and astronomy, “said Smith.
According to Smith, the Department of Environment, Geology and Natural Resources will be one of the units moving to Cooper once it is renovated. This department, as it is now, is scattered throughout the campus.
“In this department you have a faculty of natural resources, which deals with soil quality and soil science. “You have the Faculty of Geology, which also deals with minerals and soils,” Smith said. “It simply came to our notice then [the reconstruction of the Cooper Science Building is] allowing them and their students to be in the same field, in the same research field, with modern new facilities. ”
In addition to the Department of Environment, Geology and Natural Resources, which is home, according to Smith, there is a laboratory for applied anthropology – consisting of the unit of archeology and the department of anthropology. Lowe said that once all departments in the College of Natural Sciences and Humanities are relocated, construction on the eastern end will begin.
Lowe said he is very grateful to the Indiana General Assembly for funding $ 59.9 million for the Cooper Science Building. He said the grant allows the upgrade of Cooper Science to include both sustainable and collaborative workspaces and laboratories.
“We’re creating a digital lab at the east end of the building, a community meeting room on the south side of the building, restoring the observatory – making the building much more sustainable,” Lowe said. “The building will be connected to geothermal systems, thus starting to save even more money or generate even more savings.
Our goal is to continue to create spaces that are flexible learning spaces that can be used and collaborate for all departments that are located in this particular building. “
The western end of Cooper Science is expected to be completed by spring 2023, and construction of the eastern end will take effect immediately – expected to be completed by spring 2024.