Rider Science and Technology Center starts $7 million expansion in late fall

By Tatyanna Carman

The Science and Technology Center will receive a 9,500 square foot addition that will cost approximately $7 million, a major overhaul to the existing building and another part of the university’s plan to invest in campus infrastructure, according to Vice President for Facilities and University Operations Michael Reca.

“As part of the Strategic Plan and Facilities Master Plan, the Science and Technology Center has been getting renovations over the past four years to improve the older academic spaces to keep pace with the needs of the curriculum,” Reca said. “The next phase of that program is to expand the building to meet the needs of new academic programs.”

The additions will include a cybersecurity lab, an anatomy and physiology lab with an adjacent prep room, a software engineering room also featuring a prep room, an enhanced new greenhouse, new restrooms, a new entrance with a large lobby for faculty and student interaction and an atrium hallway where the two buildings connect, which will have informal learning areas for additional faculty and student interaction, according to Reca.

The construction will start in late November and the anticipated date of completion is Dec. 1, 2021.

He said from there, the building will be populated “with equipment and furnishings to be ready for the first day of classes for the Spring 2022 semester.” Reca explained that the expansion project went through several “iterations leading up to this final design.” The start of the planning for the project began in spring 2019, but was deferred as a result of the pandemic and then the final planning was completed in June 2020, according to Reca.

“This project will enhance the overall aesthetics of the building and provide additional spaces to support the academic programs,” he said. “It is also intended to attract students for the new academic programs as well as give the current students increased opportunities to expand their curricular options.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs DonnaJean Fredeen said that the space is “very inviting for students, providing alcoves where students can meet in groups to go over class notes and materials.”

“This addition is very important to the Rider community in that it demonstrates our commitment to the needs of the science programs and our continued investment on spaces that enhance the educational experience for all students,” she said.

Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Kelly Bidle said that the importance of this expansion project is that this project will “lead to anticipated increased enrollments in the STEM disciplines, allow us to expand on our current programming in computer science and technology, substantially improve Rider’s science and technology facilities and allow us to remain competitive in recruitment and retention within the STEM disciplines.”

Bidle also said that one of the key strengths of the science programs at Rider is the “preparation of students to be highly competitive applicants for top- notch Ph.D. graduate programs and post-baccalaureate profession programs,” due to hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory instruction.

“For Health Sciences, one of our newest, and most successful programs in the sciences, teaching laboratory space is a critical need, as we do not currently have the required infrastructure for these types of dedicated learning opportunities,” Bidle said. “Further, national trends confirm that students seek courses, regardless of major, in computer sciences. Continued growth and focus in the areas of technology, as well as the health sciences, lends confidence to future employers, graduate programs, and current and prospective students that Rider is, and continues to, invest in the future.”

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