by Joshua Flores
If you were on the SPC Levelland campus last semester, you may have noticed the trees outside the east side of the Science Building disappeared. They were removed before Christmas. This was done to make way for renovations.
Plans for the renovations started almost two years ago, according to David Etheredge, chairman of the Biology Department. Etheredge is a professor of biology as well as the program coordinator of the renovation project.
“This thing started with donors that were committed to SPC and wanted to know how they could donate money that would benefit SPC,” says Etheredge.
Phase one of the project is now underway as bids on construction came in last week.
“Phase one, we think, will take a minimum of 14 months after we begin construction,” Etheredge says.
According to Etheredge, this is a $13.5 million project and three donors have donated a little more than $12 million to pay for it.
SPC Director of Development Julie Gerstenberger says former SPC graduate Bill Wheeler is the lead donor of the project. She adds that his father was one of the original SPC faculty members who taught band and math.
The current Science Building dates back to 1964. Etheredge says an addition was built in 1968, and three other buildings were also added to the original one.
“Dr. Satterwhite and the donors visited the Science Building and decided there was an obvious need for renovations or new buildings because the science buildings are some of the oldest on campus,” Etheredge says.
Phase one of the project will include a new 22,000-square-foot study center, which will be located where the east parking lot is now. It will include 10 study group rooms and tutor cubicles, offices, and a conference room furnished with comfy furniture, according to Etheredge. He says it will also include a nutrition lab with kitchen, two physical labs, and two biology lecture classrooms.
Phase one will also include renovations to the existing buildings, including hallway upgrades, two chemistry labs, four anatomy & physiology labs, and one microbiology lab, Etheredge says.
Phase two of the project is still in the planning stage but will involve renovating more labs, including geology, biology, zoology, and botany, as well as creating a new greenhouse and garden space, according to Etheredge.
Gerstenberger says, “This is a transformative project. It’s just so significant, not only to South Plains College, but to the community, because every student who earns a degree from South Plains College most likely passes through a science course. We don’t offer the lab science courses any place other than the Levelland campus.”
Photos by Lassandra Muniz