Modern furniture, architecture and technology open opportunities for students while bringing the scattered Dixie State College science and math departments closer.
Remodeling of the Val A. Browning Library is set for completion on July 30, and classes are already being held in the upper science laboratories of the building, now named the Edward H. and Idonna E. Snow Science Center.
Sherry Ruesch, executive director of campus services, said the addition to the old library was different than other projects, such as Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons’ construction, because the design wasn’t started from scratch.
“In most of the classrooms and office areas, the construction was fairly light—just a lot of IT, of course, and walls,” Ruesch said, referencing a need to turn once-open quarters into classrooms and labs.
Making structural changes posed many challenges, and the Snow building additions took longer than anticipated. Also, limited funding prevented planning expensive and less necessary features.
“It will be nice, and it will work,” Ruesch said. “We could’ve done more with more money.”
However, the building’s completion is a large upgrade to tight spaces math and science students face in the North Instructional Building and Science Building. Cramped hallways and classrooms trap students at times, and some classes in both departments are held in various venues across campus.
Brandt Wood, a junior general education major from Santa Clara, spends the majority of class time in the Science Building. However, Wood said he has some classes on the other side of campus.
“Right now I’m taking a chemistry class in a different building because I guess they don’t have enough room for all the science teachers to be there,” Wood said.
In addition to giving science classes a central location, bringing new technologies into the labs of an ever-changing field that benefits students. Ruesch said upgrading resources and replacing bulky furniture that took space in the NIB was a focus.
“[The NIB] is a sardine can,” Ruesch said. “It isn’t because there are too many students in each classroom; it’s almost because the furniture is too big.”
Jessica Caster, a junior nursing major from St. George, said open space and technological benefits don’t only aid students.
“I hope we can do more with resources we have, and the professors can do more [with advancements] in classes,” Caster said.
Melissa Muse, a sophomore general education major from Salt Lake City, takes a science class in the Browning Learning Resource Center, and said the building isn’t meant for science classes because the classrooms lack the science posters and diagrams on the walls; this creates a strained learning environment.
Transformation of the old library gives students in the same fields a concentrated study space, and Ruesch said renovations will surprise students familiar with the building.
“It’s a big change for people familiar with the old building,” Ruesch said.