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The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Ahmanson Science Center to receive renovations and improvements through grant funding

Infographic by Parker Smith – Digital and Multimedia Editor
Associate Vice President of Planning & Services Ryan Van Ommeren said the total budget for the Ahmanson Science Centerโ€™s renovation is anticipated to be approximately $7.7 million.

On Oct. 19, California Lutheran University President Lori Varlotta sent an email to the campus community informing them that the university has been awarded two grants from The Ahmanson Foundation and Fletcher Jones Foundation totaling $1,731,000, which will go toward upgrades to the Ahmanson Science Center.

According to Associate Vice President of Planning & Services Ryan Van Ommeren, the Ahmanson Science Center was built in the late 1980โ€™s, and much of the utility equipment is original. He said there will be a complete refurbishment of the building, right down to the foundation, and the repairs will include all new utilities such as HVAC, lighting and plumbing.ย 

โ€œThe concept is to have a complex which consists of Swenson Science and the Ahmanson Science Center so that STEM students will be able to take most of their classes in this one complex,โ€ Van Ommeren said.ย 

Van Ommeren said University Facilities tries to get 20-25 years of use out of a buildingโ€™s infrastructure, and from an efficiency standpoint, new equipment for the Ahmanson Science Center would be a better investment and save the university substantial operating costs.

One of the priorities for the project, Van Ommeren said, was for STEM students. He said the renovations will provide a large, informal drop-in study space, which is designed intentionally for tutoring, and two new modern physics studios.

โ€œStudents will be able to learn in a cutting-edge facility in spaces that are optimized for modern-day instruction,โ€ Lauren Causey, executive director of Sponsored Research and Projects, said.ย 

Causey said the goals for the Ahmanson Science Center are in alignment with standards set by faculty for all science facilities at Cal Lutheran. She said the goals consist of enhancing student-faculty research opportunities, promoting interdisciplinary work by locating science disciplines in the same buildings and creating a flexible learning space with furniture that can be rearranged for the purposes of the student.

Van Ommermen said a new roof will also be included in the renovation due to patchwork and leaks that have been too difficult to fix.ย 

After the design and architectural concept was complete, Van Ommeren said facilities secured the contractorโ€™s estimates for the University Cabinet to review and meet with the Cal Lutheran Board of Regents to report approximately how much funds the university would need to complete the renovation.ย ย 

Causey said the University Advancement Department is responsible for securing external funding by filing grant proposal applications, which they did with The Ahmanson and Fletcher Jones Foundations.

โ€œThere was a team that came together to address the various components of the applications, which included the Presidentโ€™s Cabinet, consisting of the senior executive and administrative body of the university, the facilities folks who are making arrangements for the construction itself and also the business office,” Causey said.ย 

The Ahmanson Science Center renovation is one of the projects in the campus plan, which is part of the 2022-27 Strategic Plan, Van Ommeren said. He said this plan has been developed over the past year-and-a-half through an extensive collaborative planning process.

Causey said that the new technologies coming to these renovated spaces will match the pedagogical and teaching practices that faculty want to implement in order to improve studentsโ€™ learning experience.

According to Van Ommeren, the Ahmanson Science Center renovation is anticipated to be complete by fall 2024.ย 

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