Take a walk on the science side

Join student media on a tour through the new Samuelson building


Samuel Beaumonte, Senior News Reporter

The tour started with a safety lesson by Scott Carlson, the program coordinator who oversees the contracts for the Samuelson construction. His voice was clear, but overcast by construction as a machine pulled gravel away from a ditch beside what we used as our entrance.

He warned us that there would be power cords hanging from the ceiling and clutter on the floor, and if we weren’t careful we could easily be injured.

Samuelson was designed to house the departments of Computer Science, Mathematics and Information Technologies and Administrative Management (ITAM) with a $58 million budget.

“We’re computer scientists; we want a lot of labs with a lot of computers, with a lot of software there. All of the provisions you knew, and some exciting new courses will be right here in this new building,” Chair of Computer Science Christos Graikos said.

Graikos wasn’t the only one excited about the tour, nor was he the only chair showing up to see how Samuelson was progressing.

“There will be one computer lab dedicated to statistics courses, we’ll also have a couple of classrooms designed to be [for] mathematically teaching, so we’ll use that to our secondary teaching program and our middle level math program,” Chair of Mathematics Stuart Boersma said.

While there were no direct representatives from ITAM on this tour, classrooms and offices were pointed out that would be dedicated to their department and to student support when Samuelson is fully functional.

One part of the building meant to be helpful for all students is the equipment set aside for Multimodal Learning, which is the program behind online teaching.

“The multimodal rooms will have a lot more advanced high tech. I do expect that in the multimodal area there will be lots of labs set up or rooms set up so that instructors can record lectures and facilitate online learning,” Boersma said.

As the professors and chairs went along the tour they asked questions about classroom occupancy, projectors, screens and monitors inside the classrooms and the quality of both student and teacher desks.

“Samuelson will be a faculty development space with faculty lecture studios and techflex classrooms, which means classrooms that can be organized and changed into different configurations,” Chad Schone, the director of the Multimodal Education Center (MEC), said.

A remodel like this is no strange thing for Samuelson, originally a gym turned library. This latest remodel will be it’s sixth renovation.

“It started as a gymnasium, and then the locker rooms being added on, then more of the additions kind of turned it into a student union facility,” said Bill Yarwood, director of facilitates planning and construction services at CWU, in an interview with the Daily Record.

Yarwood admitted to the Daily Record that adding sections to Samuelson every 15-20 years wasn’t normal, but with it’s location and CWU’s consistent growth it made sense.

“When you have a good building to start with and you can do it with an addition it makes sense because you can share facilities,” Yarwood said. “It’s just interesting it’s the one building on campus that we have that situation with.”

Samuelson was left practically unused since 2005 when the SURC was completed, except as a storage space for the university.

CWU submitted multiple proposals for a remodel of Samuelson, including two focused on a media and technology-focused building that was denied as Legislature made clear that it’s primary focus is on STEM students.

“The beauty of a program change is that it really doesn’t change much in terms of building infrastructure,” Chief of Staff and Executive Director for Public Affairs Linda Shactler said in an interview with the Daily Record back in 2014.

This was when the initial plan for the project proposal that was accepted by legislature was still being developed. The work that had went into the previous proposals helped keep CWU on a building efficient timeline.

The departments of mathematics, computer science and ITAM are preparing to move into Samuelson this summer just before it finishes completion and opens up in fall 2018.

They won’t be the only ones moving, however. CWU will be experiencing a major “domino effect” as departments shift around and settle into new locations.

An example of this is how the geology and physics department left Lind Hall and moved to Science II last summer, leading the communication and film departments to move into Lind and leave Bouillon hall for student services to fill in.

Observer’s Sam Beaumonte and Central News Watch’s Forrest Allread grab hard hats and vests for the walk-through. Xander Fu/Observer.