The University of Maryland’s John S. Toll Physics Building is undergoing a $1.4 million renovation to make way for its new advising office.
Part of the building’s first floor will be remodeled to include a new conference room, and old lab space will be converted to offices.
The Office of Student and Education Services will move into the new space, which is bigger than their previous one, said office director Donna Hammer. The office provides advising services to students and instructional staff in the physics department.
“We’re very excited about it,” Hammer said. “Just because we have a new space, we’ve been in the same space for a while, and it’s fun to make a new change and be in a new part of the building.”
Facilities Renewal and the computer, mathematics and natural sciences college funded the project, said Bill Olen, Facilities Management capital projects director. Design for the project began in January 2016, construction began in July 2017 and it should finish by the end of November, Olen added.
The original completion date was pushed back a month after upgrades to the building’s outdated life safety system — which provides fire protection — was added to the project’s scope, he said.
In addition to these upgrades, the HVAC and electric system will also be modernized, said Ruth Heffes, executive director of facilities for the computer, math and natural sciences college.
The idea for a larger space was first brought up after the physical sciences complex opened in April 2014, Heffes said. And several groups worked together to make the project a reality — a lab moved to the complex to make room for the new student service offices, she added.
“The space they were in was small, it was outdated and it was inadequate,” Heffes said. “So it was various dominoes that came into place. The university community, the physics department and the college of mathematics and natural sciences was able to provide a space and provide the funds to allow the [Student and Education Services] … to expand.”
Work to relocate the lab to the physical sciences complex is still underway, Hammer said.
“A lot of work needs to be done to make that environment comfortable. There’s lots of [lab] equipment that must be removed because it’s been there for a long time,” she said.
Jeffrey Davis, a junior physics major, said it’s time parts of the Toll building were renovated.
“It’s good considering that the building has been so old for so long,” Davis said. “It’d be good if it finally gets up to date with everything else on campus.”