Science building still excites faculty on first anniversary

Recently celebrating its first birthday, the new science building at San Jacinto College Central Campus continues to be the pride of the science faculty.

Dr. Ann Cartwright, the department Chairperson of the department of Physical Science and Biology said planning for the building started over ten years ago.

“I have minutes from meetings dated 2002,” Cartwright said, “In the spring of 2012, Ruben Ramirez, our Lab Supervisor, came up with a cascading plan for the move into the new building. All during summer school of 2012, as we finished a lab for the semester, Ruben and his team of lab assistants packed the materials and stored them in a lab not in use.”

According to Cartwright, the move took a remarkably short time starting Aug. 9 and reaching completion Aug. 27.

“The miracle was due to Ruben, and the great help of the faculty members who used their week of vacation time between summer and fall semesters to help with the unpacking and preparing labs for fall,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright said Ramirez helped North and South campuses plan and carry out their moves into their new science facilities, as well.

She said the new building offers numerous advantages over the old facility including state-of-the-art media and equipment in all classrooms and labs.

“We have a great number of new safety features for the labs,” Cartwright said, “for which all faculty members received training. The classrooms are great. I especially like the smaller ones which seat 32, because due to the arrangement of the tables, it is possible for the teacher to walk all around the room and there is not the back row of students like in the old building.” Cartwright said the new facility is aesthetically pleasing.

“In addition, the building is beautiful—the atrium is a work of art with a two story periodic table on one wall—it’s an artwork, you have to figure out it represents a periodic table. We have outside speakers 4-5 times each semester, and we are very proud to show off our building,” Cartwright said.

She said the new building is not only benefitting the Sciences, but services the entire college.

“We are sharing it with the rest of SJC by having meetings and special events like Engineering Day, which math arranges. We also share it with the community by having hundreds of pre-college age students, elementary students and the PECHS visit our labs. And this year, we are hosting the PISD Regional Science Fair in January, 2014, and have planned a national chemistry conference in the fall of 2014 in the building,” Cartwright said.

Central campus science professor Paul Barron said the old science building was one of the first buildings erected on Central campus in 1961.

“It had become old and decrepit, but after Ike, it was even worse shape,” Barron said. “Luckily, the voters approved a large bond such that we could have new science buildings across the three campuses, and ours was built first. We are all very happy with our new home, and this building covers all our basic needs, has a few perks, and supports our future growth”.