The university announced design plans for the building project of Science 2a, the second half of the renovation of science spaces on campus. The university plans to use this space for wet labs, core facilities, classrooms and a maker space, according to a BrandeisNOW article.
In the Board of Trustees report released in May 2022, the university announced that the 2023 fiscal budget would include a proposal on how to budget the expense of the Science 2a project. The project had initially been expected to follow the construction of Phase 1 of the project—the Shapiro Science Center (SSC)—which was completed in 2009, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. However, construction and plans for the second phase came to a halt due to the 2008-09 recession.
The budget for the Science 2a construction was initially approved in 2005, according to a Hoot article. The university took on $100 million in debt to complete the new science facility projects. In the original timeline, Phase 1 was intended to begin in Spring 2007 with initial use being in Fall 2008, according to the article. Phase 1, the SSC, replaced two buildings on campus: Kalman and Friedland. Phase 2a of the project was initially intended to be a building to replace the Edison Lecks Science Building, according to the original construction plans. Phase 2a was initially set to begin in the Spring 2009 and be finished in 2011.
The new plans for the Science 2a project include the partial removal of the Gerstenzang Science Library and the removal of the upper floors of the Edison Lecks Science Building. In addition to these structural building changes, there will be a conservation of the outdoor space outside of the Science Complex known as the “Red Square” into a green space and walking paths, according to the article.
The construction plans would create an additional 100,000 square feet of mostly new spaces for wet labs, facilities, classrooms and a maker space. Some of Science 2a will involve renovating existing spaces on campus. For the new building, there will be 75% flexible research labs and 25% learning spaces, according to the BrandeisNOW article. The building will be five stories and will be located adjacent to the SSC so that the two buildings can connect via the SSC atrium. The new facilities will also house the new engineering science program that was approved in 2021. The engineering major will begin no later than the 2026-27 academic year, according to the university page.
Construction is currently estimated to begin in late 2023, according to the article, it is estimated to take two to three years to complete construction. The estimated budget is $145 million for the project. The budget for the project was assessed during the May 2022 Board of Trustees Report. The intent of the new facilities is to “bolster the recruitment and retention of top faculty and students, strengthen Brandeis’ position as a leader in scientific advances and enhance interdisciplinary connections across campus,” according to the BrandeisNOW article.
The Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) will be run by Compass Project Management; they were selected for this role in April 2022. The architect for Science 2a will be Payette, the company that was in charge of the design for the SSC, according to their webpage. Payette had also done an initial proposal for this project in 2005 when the plans were first being put in place, according to a previous Hoot article. The project is under the supervision of the project sponsor group (PSG) and is co-chaired by Stew Urketsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration. Ron Liebowitz is overseeing the programming, budget, space and schedule for the project, according to the article.
Designs have yet to be completed; the team will be meeting with stakeholders to gain insight on the components that would be most useful for the labs and classrooms, according to the article.