The Gustavian Weekly

Gustavus prepares for phase two of the Nobel Expansion: Gusties will soon get their first glimpse inside the $70 million project | The Gustavian Weekly

By DeAnna Giles - Staff Writer | May 17, 2019 | News

Nobel Hall of Science is bringing Gustavus students one of the biggest renovations this campus has seen since the construction of Beck Hall.
One of the largest projects Gustavus has ever taken on in terms of cost, the $70 million project–which will double the building’s footprint and completely renovate the existing facilities–received final approval from the Gustavus Board of Trustees on Friday, January 26, 2018.
February 2018 kickstarted the project beginning with the iconic tower crane.
“The first time we had that kind of construction with the tower crane was Beck Hall,” Special Projects Coordinator Warren Wunderlich said. “It’s always good to have a crane on campus as it shows progress,” Wunderlich said.
Wunderlich dedicated 24 years to Gustavus before retiring almost 3 years ago and asked to come back specifically for the renovation of Nobel.
Julie Bartley, Professor of Geology and Environmental studies, is serving as the Faculty Shepherd of the project. She is the liaison between the designers and builder, and the faculty and staff and leads the organization of selecting and purchasing furniture and scientific equipment.
“Science buildings are the most interactive and dynamic buildings on campus. There is always some sort of renovation every year,” Wunderlich said.
The renovated Nobel will have more room for majors and bigger spaces. Wunderlich worked on the renovation of Beck Hall during his years at Gustavus with the intention of taking the physical space for the academic programs to another level.
“Beck was turning the page and trying to achieve another level of excellence in support of those academic programs. That part is continuing in Nobel,” Wunderlich said.
The architecture of both projects take inspiration from all the buildings on campus and getting a sense of what elements are repeated on campus.
One thing that is unique about the renovated Nobel is that there’s no second floor, only a landing leading into the old Nobel“There’s a basement which houses storage for mechanical equipment and space for theatre and dance, a first floor lining up with the Schaefer Arts Center, a second floor landing which ties to the existing 3rd floor of Nobel, a third floor which stands inches above the roof of the current Nobel, a fourth floor, and a penthouse,” Assistant Project Manager for Kraus-Anderson Construction Alec Miller said.
The company’s partnership with Gustavus stretches over 40 years and includes the campus reconstruction after the 1998 tornado and recent projects such as Anderson Hall and Beck Academic Hall.
The renovated Nobel consists of different products such as a Cafe, a huge Laboratory Black Box Theatre, an Anatomy Lab designed to house Gustavus’ first functioning Cadaver, labs designed to fit the needs of evolving science and research, and classrooms with big windows for natural light.
“I am excited about the beautiful, larger, safer, more flexible facilities that are 21st century rather than 1965 and technology that allows us to transition from lecture to discussion to group activities all within one class period,” Professor in Environmental Studies and Biology Pamela Kittelson said.
“I am excited to see the new labs, technology, and the new cafe which will be helpful when in between class if I need to grab a snack,” Junior Biology Major [Pre-med] Faith Emovon David said.
The Cafe inside the renovated Nobel will be the intersection between the Schaefer Arts Center and the Nobel Hall of Science. After about 300 suggestions were taken in February, the Kitchen Cabinet comprised of students, administrators, faculty, and staff narrowed the list down to 50.
With the help of the Marketing Department, the Cafe has been named, The STEAMery, chosen by Brianne Twaddle, Administrator in Gustavus Technology Service.
“We wanted to emphasize the intersectionality and connect the sciences with the arts,” Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services in Dining Services Steven Kjellgren said.
“We had the opportunity to physically implement the STEAM program unlike other schools,” Wunderlich said.
Gustavus is taking this opportunity to use the Cafe as a way to emphasize climate consciousness, focus on our carbon footprint of the things we are serving, and provide students with unique items that can only be purchased at The STEAMery.
“It’s an opportunity for us to make a statement about things we feel are important,” Kjellgren said.
The Cafe will still include an espresso machine and coffee, and plans to have smoothies, sandwiches, and salads. The Nobel Cafe will be open to all feedback from students after opening.
The Cafe isn’t the only new product. Many of the labs will have more advanced and safer Fume Hoods for chemical reactions.
“This changes the way we can teach these classes and help prepare our students for more realistic labs they’ll find at graduate schools, internships, and jobs,” Chemistry Professor, Co-Chair, Amanda Nienow said.
On the other hand, there are multiple rooms not designed for anything in particular but “for the purpose of the next good idea,” Wunderlich said.
However, for the 2019-2020 academic year, the residents of the renovated Nobel will be scattered due to limited space.
The Geography and Geology classes will mostly not be in Nobel for a year and will be sharing spaces with other departments across campus especially Mattson and Anderson Halls.
Biology and Chemistry classes will move into the renovated Nobel but will have condensed rooms.
Besides the limited space, the renovated Nobel Hall of Science is one that will attract prospective students and enable the sciences to perform bigger and better research.
“The renovated Nobel is an opportunity to push the limits in terms of how science education research is done. This has been a fun project for me and is the best part of my former job. It’s nice to come back and see people again,” Wunderlich said.
Unfortunately, the shakespeare pit will not be a part of the ending results but lookout for all these exciting parts of Nobel coming next Fall.
Be aware of the remodeling of the current Nobel which is expected to be done by the end of July 2020. And yes, the mural, Man and the Universe, will remain.
“Being a part of such an impressive project and having a collaborative team effort really takes a fleet of people who are knowledgeable and passionate. It’s impressive and a cool thing to be apart of something a lot bigger than just yourself,” Miller said.

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