Renovation of the Lyons Science Building at FSU

Connect NC Bond Q&A with Fayetteville State University Chancellor James A. Anderson

The Connect NC Bond will allow Fayetteville State University to complete a $10.6 million comprehensive renovation of the Lyons Science Building. This 30-year-old, 89,000-square foot facility’s comprehensive renovation will enhance the fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems, enhance the exterior building envelope and replace roofing, replace fume hoods, improve accessibility, expand hazardous material storage as well as replace aging mechanical equipment. The scope and budget for this project aligns with FSU’s core mission and campus master plan.

Why is this particular project important to Fayetteville State?

“The three-story building houses several departments: chemistry, geology and GIS lab, biology, geography, history and government.  There is a planetarium, a microprobe suite, a nano materials lab, as well as an observatory located in this facility. The renovation will upgrade technology, equipment and furnishings in these areas and repurpose space to meet current program needs.

The nano lab, spectroscopy lab, planetarium and wet labs will be upgraded to meet best design practices to function efficiently, enhance space utilization and meet safety standards.

The renovation will provide support for new academic programs as well as space for student science organizations, a student lounge complete with library extension services, group study halls with state-of-the-art technology, and a learning center. The planetarium currently receives about 3,000 visitors a year, many of whom are elementary school students. Officials hope the renovations can double the number of visitors.

Renovations will expand the Planetarium into a more comprehensive science center that will serve the broader region.  The science center will have an aquarium, designated space for permanent science exhibits and a room set up for classroom-style demonstrations and interactive activities. These renovations will also enhance the planetarium itself. Replacement of the 35-year-old seats and flooring is planned along with modifications to the electrical and projection systems.  The observatory on the roof currently has a 16-inch telescope and dome that was installed in 1982.  The observatory accommodates a maximum 10 people at a time and is accessible only by a very steep stairway/ladder. The dome and dome slit now move with difficulty.  In the renovation, the observatory will be expanded to safely accommodate more people. The roof is also valuable for astronomy viewing events featuring smaller telescopes, and a viewing deck with railings will be installed. A telescope with CCD (digital camera) capabilities will be added with a video feed delivered to the planetarium.

Classrooms and labs will be upgraded to offer a hands-on learning experiences enhanced by technology. The greenhouse lab will be relocated to a more appropriate area of campus to take advantage of a natural environment. The current greenhouse location will be re-purposed to accommodate animal studies.”

How does the selected project help meet our stated goals?

“This comprehensive renovation will upgrade technology, equipment and furnishings in all of these areas and will lend to a re-purposing of space to meet current needs. The renovation will provide support for new academic programs, space for student science organizations, group study halls with state of the art technology, and a learning center.”

What impact will the completion of the project have beyond campus?

“The comprehensive renovation will have a direct impact on the recruitment and enrollment of new students. Prospective students and their parents understandably expect state-of-the-art science labs and equipment as they evaluate their higher education options.  Our current facilities cannot always compete with other institutions.  The renovations will allow more students to enroll in the programs.

The renovation also means that FSU will also be better able to host science competitions and Olympiads for high school students and provide more general science education to our region’s K-12 students and teachers.”

Are there any other benefits of the bond passage?

“The passage of the bond represents a great opportunity to refurbish some of the older facilities across University campuses by allowing us to preserve aging buildings but also give them all the modern amenities that are necessary to help students in the 21st century succeed.”