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August 25, 2014 05:03 PM

Big Renovations Happening At Augustana College

Sioux Falls, SD

Augustana College is undergoing some of its biggest renovations in the school's history.

The Gilbert Science Center at the corner of Summit Avenue and 33rd Street in Sioux Falls was built in the late 1960s and is showing its age.  It's not just the style and decor of the building that are outdated.

"In 1966, everybody faced the front of the classroom and didn't talk much and always listened to the instructor. We do things a little differently now," Associate Professor of Physics at Augustana Eric Wells said. 

The Science Center is undergoing a $35 million renovation, which includes updates and a 40,000 square foot expansion.  Once it's complete, the entire area will be known as the Froiland Science Complex.

"We had many needs. We had many visions, many dreams. And so we took the time that was needed to really use all of our spaces well," Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Hasseler said. 

Because every student who comes through Augustana has to take at least one science class in this building, faculty decided they wanted to make it forward thinking, so it would last several more years to come. 

"We thought a lot about innovative teaching, about different ways to involve our students in research," Hasseler said. 

"Our students will be able to learn in nearly the same settings they would have when they're out in the field doing real research," Wells said.

Wells says even the simplest things, like electrical and mechanical updates, are really exciting for him and his colleagues.

"We know a few things about the old building, so some of them are very nice. Some of them, we'll be happy to see go. It's served us well though for a long time," Wells said.

Work has already begun on Phase One of the project, which will add the new expansion on the south side of the Gilbert Science Center.

Classes will be shuffled around campus until the entire complex is complete in 2016.

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