BY KAHLA STATEMA | Staff Reporter | The Statesman The chemistry building at UMD was built in 1948. It was the first building on campus and for a little while it was the only building on campus.
Now UMD is looking to replace the 67-year-old building with the new Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science (CAMS) building.
The CAMS building is looking to be an estimated 56,000 square-foot facility that can accommodate the needs of modern science.
The current chemistry building is equipped with old fume hoods and an outdated heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
“We really needed to desperately replace the current chemistry building,” the Dean of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering Dr. Joshua Hamilton said.
The new CAMS building will be three stories and will include research labs, instructional labs and administration and faculty offices.
“The other piece of the new building will be this advanced material science program,” Hamilton said.
According to Hamilton, material sciences is more than just chemistry. Biology, chemical and civil engineering and even geology are associated with material sciences.
“It all depends on what kind of materials you’re talking about,” Hamilton said.
A minor in material science has been proposed and is waiting for approval. Hamilton hopes someday there will be a major and even a masters-level graduate program.
The current chemistry building is being recommended to be turned into an active learning classroom.
Instead of 200-300 student in a class, classes will range from 50 to 80 students. Students will sit around tables and work together.
“Active learning engages the students,” Hamilton said.
As for where the new CAMS building is being placed, the plan is to put the new building in the upper left-hand corner of the B lot between the medical school and Darland.
“There will be a walkway on the second floor connecting it to the corner of the medical school,” Hamilton said.
As for parking: “It will be a net loss of those parking spaces,” Hamilton said.
Patrick Keenan, the director of student life operations, said that an estimated 200 spaces will be lost.
Despite the loss in parking, the CAMS building is designed to be useful and built to last.
“It will not only satisfy us now but hopefully 30, 50, maybe even 70 years from now. It will still be a very strong and functional building,” Hamilton said.
According to Hamilton, President Kaler has put the CAMS building as his No. 1 capital project priority.
If everything goes as planned, construction is set to begin summer 2016.
“The idea is that it will be completed by the fall semester of 2018,” Hamilton said. The new advanced materials science and engineering program is projected to increase enrollment by 250 undergraduate students and 50 graduate students by 2018.