Chemistry Lab Remodel Disrupts Fall Semester Classes

Chemistry Lab Remodel Disrupts Fall Semester Classes

Elysabethe Brown, News Editor

Students enrolled in Chemistry this semester have been inconvenienced by delays because of the remodeling of the chemistry labs in The Center for Natural and Health Sciences.

While the construction began after graduation last spring, and was set to be completed by this past July, delays from the manufacturer of analytical instruments, laboratory equipment, software, services, consumables and reagents, moved the completion date to the third week of September.

“This is the third date [the manufacturer] has told me. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised,” said Wendy Yankelitis, assistant vice president for buildings and grounds.

Yankelitis explained that Marywood had completed their end of the remodeling project on time. However, the manufacturer, Thermo Fisher, who supplied the university with the equipment for the remodeling has relocated. As a result, they were late bringing the supplies needed to finish the project.

The classes affected were various sections of both Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“The organic [chemistry] students in the affected sections were asked to switch into open seats in sections 2, 3, 4 or a temporary section on Fridays 4 – 7 p.m. The biochemistry lab section affected is meeting in a different lab temporarily,” explained Dr. Deborah Wardach, science lab manager.

Students were not happy about the rescheduling of classes, especially to Friday evening time slots.

“I just figured with the construction they would have a backup plan,” said Melissa Williams, sophomore Bio Technology major. “Typically, I work every Friday night so I had to tell my manager for the next few weeks I can’t work on Fridays.”

Williams explained that the chemistry students were sent an email explaining the situation of the rescheduled labs on Aug. 15, two weeks prior to the start of school.

Although Friday evenings are by no means the ideal time slot for classes, Dr. Deanne Dulik Garver remains positive about the end outcome.

“I immediately volunteered to take that section. I do not want to ask my students to commit to a time that I would not be willing to teach myself. I am hopeful that the temporary laboratory arrangement for Organic Chem lab will be just that, over as soon as the new labs are ready,” said Garver.

Yankelitis said that the University has made their frustrations very clear to Thermo Fisher regarding the delays.
“They had a good reputation. We were told if we ordered in April we would get [equipment] by July,” she said of the company. Eight week delays, she added, are unheard of.

Rosemary Burger, registrar, explained that the changes to the lab times are only temporary until the equipment is delivered, at which time, labs will return to their original schedule.

“The department acted to assure that the students would receive the same quality of educational experience and amount of instructional time as would have been the case if the lab had been completed as anticipated,” she said.

Dr. Deborah Hokien, professor in the science department, said that safety is now the number one concern as they work to get the labs up and running.

“Even though delays were [inconvenient] we want it to be safe. Down the road students will benefit from the delay,” said Hokien.