Students and faculty who dealt with outdated facilities, tight space and course enrollment issues inside UW-Madison’s chemistry building can rest assured that their concerns will be addressed after the Board of Regents granted $29.3 million in extra spending for the renovation.
The building needed the extra funds to make renovations to the Daniels wing which include more classrooms, study space and offices as well as adding much-needed safety measures. Additionally, two floors of laboratory space for undergraduates will be added to a new 10-story tower.
In 2012, UW-Madison proposed renovating the building. In the 2015-’17 budget, the state approved 80 percent of what the university requested.
The university told The Daily Cardinal in early 2017 that the current facility was too crowded as demand for science courses had soared. Efrey Noten, an undergraduate research assistant in the chemistry department, agreed, noting that the lack of space and outdated facilities have rendered laboratories unsafe for researchers.
“Inside the labs, there’s not fume hoods for everyone, so you’re doing all those experiments out on the benchtop,” Noten said. “And that’s not the greatest idea. Not that they’re especially dangerous all the time, but if something weird happens, if a flask tips over or … any strange event happens, there’s nothing to contain it. So you’ll get all these fumes that everyone is exposed to.”
Work on the chemistry tower is slated for this summer. Renovation on the Daniels wing will start in two years, after the tower is finished.
Andrew Bahl and Madeline Heim contributed to this report with information from a prior story.