Ohio State has begun a $126 million project, $96.5 million of which is state capital, in Koffolt Lab. The project, slated to be complete by 2015, according to an article on OSU’s College of Engineering website, is no doubt a necessity. But the issue is not why are they doing the construction in the first place. The issue is why it has taken so long.
During this past quarter, I had a math class in one of Koffolt’s illustrious classrooms. Some sort of fabric hung from a leaky ceiling. During one class, the review for the first midterm, we could only use about one-third of the desks in the classroom because the ceiling was leaking and there was about a 2-inch puddle in the center of the classroom. We spent the majority of this class on hold with the university trying to find a replacement room, only to be told that they already knew of the leak, but decided to leave us in the classroom anyway. What a great way to prepare for an important midterm at one of the top universities in the country.
Oyita Udiani, my math recitation teaching assistant and second-year master’s student in mathematical biology, has been “underwhelmed” by the building.
“I am not sure where the fault lies, but this is not how I envisioned my last quarter,” Udiani said.
The environment certainly infringes on education and Udiani’s ability to present lessons.
“It is hard to teach while constantly trying to avoid dripping water and only being able to use a portion of the chalkboard,” Udiani said.
Stuart Cooper, the chairman of the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, acknowledged that Koffolt is prioritized “near the bottom of buildings in need of improvement” as “the labs are difficult to keep running and it is not handicap accessible.” However, he is very excited for the new repairs and understands that this is one of the restraints OSU must face.
“This is the nature of being a public university, your building has to make it to the top of the list of the university’s priorities,” Cooper said.
“The new building will be a substantial upgrade from current facilities,” according to the College of Engineering website.
A substantial upgrade would be an understatement. These buildings, which harbor some of the university’s most intelligent engineering students, are a disgrace. Better quality would be expected at most high schools around the country, let alone at OSU. The ceilings leak, the water fountain last week was broken, the bathroom stalls in one of the men’s bathrooms do not have doors, but rather curtains – what has taken so long?
I applaud the university for finally making a move to improve Koffolt and many other buildings on campus, but I shake my head and think “Why do I have to have my education compromised because of a leaking ceiling?”
A professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Umit Ozkan, was quoted on the engineering website saying, “I am very excited about a building where students will have a work environment conducive to learning.” How can professors be excited to have a building conducive to learning? We should always have buildings that are conducive to learning. If this is what excites us, then maybe we have a problem.