Science building crumbling; students struggling to finish school on time

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

La Crosse, Wis (WEAU)- UW- La Crosse touts its quality of education, but some of its facilities are in need of a touch up and could be affecting student graduation dates.

The Cowley science building in particular is in rough shape, with not enough room for all students.

Sarah Kruse is a typical UW-L Junior, taking sophomore level classes that she couldn’t get into last year.

“I have to have certain classes by my junior year so I can take the MCAT this spring, and that posed a real problem for me,” said Kruse.

Some sophomore level classes are all juniors and seniors. The Cowley building just doesn’t have enough teaching labs to keep students on schedule.

Currently the biology department has 7 lab rooms when they really need 12 to accommodate all students.

“It’s frustrating. Around scheduling time you have 5 minutes to get your classes before they fill up. And if one of your classes fills up you’re doomed and have to try to rearrange everything,”

This semester there are 1,100 freshmen taking biology. Struggling to make time, Department Chair David Howard says they have more than 40 hours of lab time a week. On average, a college should only be having 24 hours per lab a week.

In lecture all students can be accommodated. But since there is limited lab space students have been turned away says Chemistry Department Chair, Aaron Monte.

“I had to say no to several students. I can’t over stuff the labs it’s a safety hazard,” said Monte.

Limited space is just one of the problems with the building. Monte and Howard say the building itself is falling apart.

“Ventilation systems are failing and we can’t put any more fume hood systems to expand. The plumbing is old and falling apart, and it floods throughout the year,” said Monte.

“Windows leak, the roof leaks, when it rains it comes in the windows and in the labs with thousands of dollars worth of equipment,” said Howard.

A new million dollar science building will be built within the next decade. The Regent Board approved the 143 million dollar project last month.

The project will be done in two phases. The first phase will be new labs that will cost $80 million. The second phase will be the rest of the building and will cost the remaining 60 million.

Until then students like Sarah Kruse will have to fight for her classes.

“I wish there was a way to get the classes when you need them so you don’t fall behind,” said Kruse.

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