New Lab Construction & Renovations Planned

Cedarville is building several new science labs and renovating others. This project will progress in two stages and cost around $5 million.

In phase one, three new anatomy labs will be completed and one lecture hall renovated in the ENS, costing around $800,000, according to a Cedarville press release. This phase will begin soon after graduation in May and has complete funding.

Phase two moves on to creating the new chemistry labs and renovating more labs in the ENS. This will take place through four parts.

Part one starts this summer, with the personnel currently in the service center moving to other locations. This will continue through the fall, with the staff needing to be out by December.

Starting in January 2015, the service center will be converted into new chemistry labs plus a stockroom and offices, said Rod Johnson, assistant vice president for operations. This part of the phase will be completed by May 2015.

In summer 2015, the chemistry labs in the ENS will be converted to biology labs, moving biology from the lower level to the second floor.

Finally, in fall 2015 and through the end of that semester, the rooms on the lower level will be reconfigured, and engineering will move in by the spring 2016 semester. In all, this phase will cost around $4.2 million.

Phase One

The large nursing lab on the third floor will be used for the new anatomy lab space. The anatomy labs will be used for human structure and function, anatomy and physiology, and gross anatomy.

Currently, anatomy labs are taught in one room of about 650 square feet. But the new labs will be about 1,000 square feet each plus the addition of the gross anatomy lab, said Dennis Flentge, chair of the department of science and mathematics.

“With the anatomy labs, we’re more than tripling the space we have for anatomy,” Flentge said.

Combined, the new labs will represent somewhere between 2,500 and 2,800 square feet.

Currently, the bio labs are in small rooms with low ceilings. Flentge said the air conditioning works fine, but once 20 people and a cadaver are in there, the rooms get warm and begin to smell.

The new labs will be more conducive for learning, especially because they’ll have improved air quality, Flentge said.

“The air conditioning will actually have some isolated ventilation so the formaldehyde fumes and some of the other things that might exist will be taken out of the room,” Flentge said. “And it will smell much better, be much healthier for the faculty.”

He said the labs will also be a better teaching environment, lines of sight will be better and there will be more space for the students.

The new labs will have video screens for part of the lab experience. The screens will be in both the cadaver lab and the human structure and function labs.

“It’s really moving the technology, bringing it into the present,” Flentge said.

In this phase, one of the lecture halls in the ENS will also be renovated. This renovation is just part of the bigger project, Flentge said, and its main goal is for the room to be more teacher and student friendly. ENS 245 is the hall used for intro to bio lectures and principles of earth science lectures, among others.

This room is in the part of the ENS built around 20 years ago, so it used to have pretty decent seats, Flentge said.

“Because the seats used to be so comfortable, we used to talk about it as being the big blue bedroom,” Flentge said.

But the seats are worn out now.

“They’re going to redo the seating, they’re going to try and improve the lighting, and some other things like that,” Flentge said. “It’s a big space and not well-lit, and it’s not very comfortable. And acoustics are not so great.”

Phase Two

After the service center is vacated, renovations will begin on creating seven chemistry labs. Three will be for general chemistry, one organic chemistry, one research, with one instrument lab and one analytical lab.

Flentge said these labs will have more space so students can move more freely.

“It’s like redoing your living room,” he said. “The furniture is going to be similar, but you a lot of times can do things where you make life a lot easier for yourself.”

Most of the labs already exist somewhere in the ENS except for the new research lab. This will be a dedicated space for faculty to set up research projects for students to get research experience before graduate or medical school, Flentge said.

“Research has become a really critical point in an undergraduate experience,” he said. “When graduate and medical schools look at students coming out of undergraduate programs, they expect those students to have had at least one or two research experiences.”

He said Cedarville’s had students who interviewed for medical school and were told that they have a good record, but it would’ve been good for them to have another semester of research. The research labs will help the chemistry program, the pre-med program and more of the biology students.

“It’s a big deal,” Flentge said.

In the final phase of the project that affects the science and math department, part of the second floor of the ENS will be renovated. This will provide two dedicated research labs for faculty who don’t have that kind of space right now and also provide better space for general biology, cell biology and immunology.

Engineering renovations

After biology moves out of the lower floor of the ENS near the end of the second phase of the project, engineering will have access to four new rooms.

“Faculty will rejoice, and so will students,” said Robert Chasnov, chair for the department of engineering and computer science.

This change will give a room to the biomechanical side of the program, which currently only has lab in the spring because it shares the room with another course, he said.

Chasnov said biomechanics is a growing field, so having a dedicated lab will help. Biomechanics is currently a minor in the program, he said, but more and more students are completing that minor.

Another major emphasis for the renovation is giving more space to the mechanical engineering senior design lab.

“(It’s) been undersized for probably the last five years as the program grows,” Chasnov said.

The renovations will nearly double the space for the senior design computer lab, used for that purpose and also team meetings, Chasnov said.

The third main emphasis for renovating the labs to suit engineering is to grow the vibration mechanical engineering lab space.

“Currently, (it’s) taking up a small, what would be project space,” Chasnov said. “But it’s a lab that needs more room.”

Outside the ENS, a barn near the service center will be turned into an engineering dirty lab for additional team space and manufacturing projects, according to the press release.


The public relations side of engineering is not going to get as much of a boost as the public relations side of science, Chasnov said.

“They currently really can’t show off (the labs) they have now because they don’t present a pretty picture,” Chasnov said. “Once they get new labs, they can show them off.”

Flentge said the technology in most of the science labs date back to when the ENS was built – 1973.

Associate Vice President of Operations Johnson said Cedarville’s labs are getting behind as a lot of schools, including high schools, are redoing their buildings.

“So students coming in from high school to look at (our labs) are actually coming out of a better lab than what we have here,” he said. “That’s obviously not acceptable.”

Many of Cedarville’s competitors are putting money into new buildings, Johnson said. Cedarville isn’t ready for that, but they can achieve the same type of facility by renovations.

“Outside, it may not be as nice as some of them,” Johnson said. “But inside, it will do everything that all the new buildings do, and we can do it for a lot cheaper.”

For example, Flentge said Taylor University built a new science building, and he guesses it cost around $40 million.

He said the pictures look impressive, but the space isn’t much larger than the overall space Cedarville has in its building.

“With this whole renovation,” Flentge said “we should be spending about $5 million and getting the same quality labs to be able to put in the facilities we already have.”


How is money brought in for building projects?

Cedarville usually fundraises to build administrative buildings but did something different for a recent project

The money for each phase of the lab renovation project will be entirely raised before the phase starts, said Rod Johnson, assistant vice president of operations. He said this is usually how Cedarville raises money for renovations or constructing new buildings.

But this isn’t how Cedarville provided the money for the new Health Sciences Center. The HSC cost $21.5 million and hasn’t been completely paid off yet, Johnson said. Cedarville borrowed $5 million against it, and that will be paid off over 10 years, he said.

“We typically don’t do that for administrative buildings, but the (pharmacy) program is generating new students,” Johnson said.

He said students who want to be pharmacists wouldn’t come to Cedarville if the school didn’t have a pharmacy program, and new students are coming for the program.

“We’re using those (new student) revenues to pay the debt service,” Johnson said.

He said when the BTS was built, Cedarville didn’t borrow at all because they didn’t expect a lot of new Bible students just because of the new building.

“With pharmacy, those are going to be all new students who wouldn’t have been here without that facility, without that program,” Johnson said.

He said the debt for the HSC is being paid off by the pharmacy students here, but the $5 million for this project to renovate and create new labs will be completely financed by donations.


Lauren Eissler is a junior journalism major and managing editor and campus news editor for Cedars. She essentially lives in the J-Lab, with her caffeine intake roughly corresponding to how many articles she’s writing, and tweets as @L_Eissler.

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