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Opening of new Chemistry tower delayed; classes being shifted

August 20, 2021 By Meredith McGlone

During required fire-safety testing over the course of this summer, the elevator shafts in the new Chemistry Building tower did not pass mandatory pressurization tests. Proper elevator shaft pressurization reduces the spread of smoke during a fire, and passing the test is required before the new tower can be occupied.

Attempts to resolve the issue have not been successful to date. Occupancy of the tower portion of the building will not be possible by the start of classes on September 8.

The College, Chemistry Department staff, and the Office of the Registrar are ensuring that all courses scheduled for the tower section of the building will proceed in September in alternate locations or modalities. Instructors and students will receive more detailed information.

“Because of the extensive planning and high anticipation of educating students in a new state-of-the-art facility, to wait is deflating,” Department Chair Clark Landis said in a message to the department today. “But we have learned over the past 18 months that, through cooperation, flexibility, and dedication to our mission, we can surmount these challenges.”

Construction of the tower began in 2018 and is part of a $133 million upgrade to the Chemistry Building.