CHARLOTTE — For the past several years, science students at Central Piedmont Community College have often had trouble completing required courses in a timely manner.
The backup in sciences wasn’t the result of a lack of science professors or quality students, but rather a lack of science space on the school’s Central Campus, said Jeff Lowrance, spokesman for CPCC.
“Our current lack of labs has resulted in a bottleneck for students,” Lowrance said. “In many cases, students are not able to take needed chemistry and biology labs in consecutive semesters. This delay slows their progress in completing their degree programs.”
But the bottleneck will soon expand, as CPCC plans to start work soon on a renovation project to the Giles Science Building that will create more lab space and allow students to take their science courses more efficiently, Lowrance said.
Right now, the building has seven laboratories and 12 classrooms, but the goal of the project is to reduce the number of classrooms and turn that space into science labs. In the four-story building, the first floor will have five regular classrooms and one smart classroom. The second floor will have four regular labs and a flex lab, which can also be used as classroom space. The third floor will have three regular labs and two flex labs, and the fourth floor will have a biology lab, an optics lab, two physics labs and another flex lab.
The $5.45 million project will add about 156 lab stations.
Lowrance said work on the 43,422-square-foot Giles Building will start next month, with renovations likely to last until late November.
Charlotte-based Rodgers has been named as the construction manager on the renovation project, but will be working with a number of subcontractors. Subcontractor prequalification bids were returned in December and all bids were submitted on Jan. 21. The chosen subcontractors will be notified later this month or in early March.
The Giles renovation is the first project undertaken by CPCC that comes from the $210 million in bond money approved by Mecklenburg County voters in November.
“We were going to wait a little while to do the science renovations, but the need became so great that we decided to move it up,” Lowrance said.
After the Giles building is completed, $30.5 million will be spent to renovate the Terrell Building, also on Central Campus, said Kathy Drumm, CPCC’s executive vice president. The Terrell Building is a 62,000-square-foot building that is to be combined with the old Central High School building to hold an array of CPCC’s student services.
Project description: CPCC is renovating the entire Giles Science Building to add up to 156 more lab stations.
Address: 1300 Park Drive, on Central Campus
Project cost: $5.45 million
Building size: 43,422 square feet
Construction manager: Rodgers
Project starts: March
Expected completion: Late November