St. Vincent pavilion work to finish by December, college says
Aug 15, 2012 (The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
When St. Vincent College students start classes on Aug. 27, they will see that construction has begun on the final phase of the $39 million Sis and Herman Dupre Science Pavilion, which houses the college's Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing.
The general contractor, Jendoco Construction Corp. of Penn Hills, expects to finish the work by December, according to college officials.
The project began in the spring of 2009.
"The 110,000-square-foot structure will enhance our sense of community and foster opportunities for interdisciplinary projects and interactions," said Stephen Jodis, dean of the Boyer School.
The science pavilion is named for the Dupres, who founded Seven Springs Resort in Somerset County. Herman Dupre is a 1953 graduate of St. Vincent College, and the family donated $7.6 million toward the project.
The former Physics Building on the west side of the pavilion will be renovated for classrooms, conference rooms and faculty offices for the Departments of Computing and Information Science, Mathematics and Physics.
The ground floor will continue to house the college's centralized network servers that support the Internet, email and other services throughout campus. Two adjacent classrooms will be renovated; one to continue to serve as a classroom, and the other as a computing lab.
Two physics labs will be constructed on the first floor. The electronics lab will be used to teach circuit design, printed circuit-board fabrication and micro-controller programming.
Two physics research labs will be built and used for performing research in computational, experimental and theoretical physics.
The pavilion contains a general physics laboratory, physical science laboratory and the Angelo J. Taiani Planetarium to study observational astronomy and provide educational shows for the public.
One computer classroom with more than 20 personal computers and two computer labs for the CIS department will be located on the second floor.
The building incorporates sustainable design and achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification. A geothermal heating and cooling system provides environmentally comfortable and responsible energy efficiencies.
In conjunction with the building renovation, a research-grade telescope observatory with a rotating dome will be erected adjacent to the building. A 14-inch Celetron computer-controlled telescope with an imaging camera will be installed inside the dome.
For new students at St. Vincent, the college is planning a five-week orientation program designed to ease the transition from high school to college life with one of the most lengthy programs in the country.
"Our orientation program will have a variety of events, which will be spread over a month's time," said Jeff Mallory, who oversees the student-planned program as coordinator of campus and multicultural student life.
St. Vincent will welcome more than 300 freshmen on Aug. 23 who will be moving into one of the 21 "pods" in St. Benedict Hall, an all-freshmen dormitory on campus. The pod is a group of 10 to 12 rooms that share lounge areas and bathrooms.
As in previous years, St. Vincent has upperclassmen who volunteer to provide baggage service to dormitory rooms. That helps reduce the number of trips to unload books, clothes, computers and other essentials needed to survive at college.
"We want to take the time to ensure that all new students get a solid start, both academically and socially. These orientation events and activities focus on student success," Mallory said.
The orientation includes a big brother/big sister program that pairs every new student with an upperclassman mentor.
Among the events planned for the orientation are a graffiti dance, student-faculty karaoke and dessert night, when faculty members make treats for the students. Trips to see the Pittsburgh Pirates on Labor Day and to the Pittsburgh Zoo are planned, as well as a Labor Day bonfire.
Students will be able to participate in the college's fourth comprehensive community service day at locations throughout the area on Aug. 24.
The orientation ends Sept. 27 with big/little games.
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