Plans are underway to construct a new science building on campus.
Dr. Robert Rhodes, provost, led a faculty-only meeting on Monday afternoon to present some details on upcoming changes, also including Mobile Learning and a new master’s degree in kinesiology and nutrition.
Dr. Allison Garrett, executive vice president of the university, and Dr. Jeff Arrington, associate vice president for Student Life, led the section on the new academic building.
Garrett said several people on campus have been discussing the prospect with an architecture firm since a feasibility study was done in 2011, but they are still in the early stages of planning.
The new building, as it is currently foreseen, will be located where Chambers Hall is now. Chambers, which houses the departments of English and psychology, was built more than 80 years ago.
“Although Chambers is a building with a lot of history, it’s a building with accessibility issues,” Garrett said.
Garrett said the early plan is that Foster Science Building will be renovated to offer spaces to house other academic departments. However, these changes are not going to happen any time soon.
“We are still a long time away from the start of construction,” she said.
Garrett said fundraising and specific department planning still need to take place before construction, which will take a while, starts. Some departments will be in temporary quarters until the project is completed.
Also during the meeting, Dr. Joe Bell, associate professor and chair of kinesiology and nutrition, presented a new Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy. If it passes faculty vote during the next week, it will undergo the accreditation process from summer 2014, when the first cohort will start, through the summer of 2016.
“Shortly after we’ll be up for our final accreditation,” Bell said.
This would be the first Master’s degree in the department.
Bell said student interest has been high, from both inside and outside ACU.
“Our current undergrad students are very interested and we’ve received calls from people all over the place asking about it,” Bell said.
Rhodes also spoke about the second phase of Mobile Learning, which will move away from iPhones and iPods and focus exclusively on iPads.