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GROUNDBREAKING IN APRIL Science Complex Digging To Start


Construction on the new $17 million Student Science Center will finally begin next April, despite budgetary problems and the dramatic rise in construction costs over the past eight months which have delayed ground-breaking.

The Science Center, intended to house the departments of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology, was originally proposed in 1963 and will be completed hopefully in 1972. Plans for the building received a setback last spring when the costs for construction appeared to be 821/2 million more than the Corporation-approved budget.

Rustan Z. Kothavala, lecturer in Geology and head of the new Science Center, said that some proposed facilities had to be dropped or delayed until funds could be raised, since either changing the plans of the building or waiting for sufficient funds would entail too costly a delay. Inflation is causing building costs to rise over $150,000 every month, Kothavala said.

Best In Country

Kothavala added, however, that he is "extremely pleased, considering the sorts of difficulties we have had." Gerald Holton, professor of Physics and member of the planning group, said that he too is optimistic about the plans and considers that the Center "will be by far the most effective and aesthetically beautiful [science] center in the country."

Funding problems caused the scrapping of a central computer center last February, and now will delay construction on both Science Instruction Development Labs (SIDL) and a large science library in the basement.

Indoor-Outdoor Snack Bar

The Center designed by Huson Jackson of Sert, Jackson and Associates, will include student workshops utilizing modern audio-visual techniques, large lecture halls, combined laboratory-classrooms, offices for instructors and an indoor-out-door snack bar. The exterior is designed in rising "steps" or "decks" so that the front of the building will gradually rise rather than present an imposing, flat facade.

To most departments, the center will provide the advantage of combining seated laboratory facilities. In addition, it will be a central location for inter-disciplinary research.

The Center to be located in the area just north of the Yard and adjacent to Memorial Hall, will include approximately 315,000 gross square feet.

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