Sep 192007
Authors: Elden T. Holldorf

Students walking past the barren ground between the Lory Student Center plaza and the Natural Science building are passing the future site of the new Computer Science (CS) building.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the CS building will be held Friday at 10:30 a.m.

Darrell Whitley, chairman of the Department of Computer Science, said although construction began this summer, the university wanted to wait on holding the ceremony until school started so students and faculty could attend.

President Penley will speak at the ceremony, followed by Whitley, and a CS student representative.

“The ceremony on Friday will give the campus a chance to celebrate a new educational facility rising up “out of the dirt”,” said, Dean of Natural Sciences, Dr. Rick Miranda, “allowing us to reflect on the hard work many have put in to get us to this point. We’ll also want to have a bit of fun of course- and the participation of our CS robots used in the curriculum will provide that, we hope.”

Each floor of the new building will have a collaboration space of about 150 square feet where students can work to brainstorm. The ground floor has two collaboration areas, as well as a robot lab. “This kind of space has been extremely popular in new CS buildings at other universities. We worked hard to get this into the design of the building because we knew it would be valued by students.” Whitley said.

Construction cost of the building, designed by Anderson Mason Dale, is $12.9 million- paid for entirely by student fees. Another million will be used for computer infrastructure and other basics, such as carpet, furniture and general equipment.

The current Computer Science building has been located off-campus for 26 years on the southwest corner of Howes and Myrtle.

“The space is not really ours, and we have had to move the main CS office more than 10 times.” Whitley said.

The new location of the CS building will be more conducive to the program. “This facility will anchor CS in the heart of campus, in a location giving excellent access to our students and providing exciting and innovative spaces in which to learn.” Miranda said.

CSU hopes this edifice will help make the CS program a more utilized part of the university.

“We feel it’s really important to physically integrate the building into campus, particularly based on the synergy between the CS program and so many other majors.” said Jim Sites, associate dean of research for the College of Natural Resources.

“We hope having the CS building in the middle of campus will also draw students to the CS major.” Whitley said. “We have 300 majors compared to a high of 700 about five years ago. Nationwide, the number of CS majors is down by 50 percent. Demand for IT workers is actually continuing to increase, so there is a serious need for more people with knowledge of computing.” Whitley said.

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