University increasing size of Smith Hall
Smith Hall will receive a $156 million expansion within the next two years, in which the building will roughly double in size, according to BmoreMedia.
Smith primarily houses classrooms for science and mathematics courses.
Junior Rachel Bell described Smith Hall as “too small” for her and her classmates to complete some of their chemistry labs.
“My physical chemistry lab, for example, is shared with an organic chemistry lab,” Bell said. “There’s barely enough room for the 12 people in the section and it’s just really hard to get things done. All the machines for P. Chem are shoved to one side of the room and all 12 of us are awkwardly moving around each other to do various things.”
Director of Construction Services Scott Guckert told BmoreMedia that the project will eventually expand the building by 106,000 square feet.
As outlined in the original plan for the renovation, the project will not only focus on the overall size of the building.
Officials plan to reduce the energy use in Smith Hall by anywhere between 15 and 20 percent once the renovation is completed, according to the project’s outline online.
The newest construction projects on campus, the College of Liberal Arts building and West Village Commons, are both LEED certified, which means they exceed national requirements for energy conservation.
Administration has planned four other alternatives if the construction project does not go as planned.
Alternatives one and two would curtail instruction and program offerings in the science department to cut down on the number of students that would come into Smith Hall.
Another alternative was the demolishment of both Smith and Linthicum Halls, and the construction of a new building that would equal the size of the two halls combined.
The outline says that particular alternative would cost an estimated $220 million.
Even after the renovation is completed, Bell said she would like to see the school upgrade the equipment in many of the labs as well.
“I ran into this problem more in my physics classes,” she said. “Most of the stuff we used was old and just didn’t work anymore. The labs shouldn’t have taken the full three hours, but they usually did since most of the time we were trying to get stuff to work.”
Smith Hall was originally constructed in 1976. Towson students are required to take at least two science courses to graduate, all of which are offered in Smith Hall.