Chaparall Hall - New Science Building
Chaparral Hall, the nearly 90,000 square foot science building was completed in January 2009 and provides a modern new home for interdisciplinary scholarship on campus, as well as room for hundreds of new students to pursue science and math studies at Cal State Northridge.
The project received an important go-ahead on February 1, 2009, when the CSU’s Board of Trustees approved schematics for the state-of-the-art structure, whose exterior will make a “dramatic architectural statement” in the universities southwest sector, adding to a surge of new construction and vitality in that area.
Construction on the four-story project, which included the relocation of the existing stellar observatory, began in January 2007. The current science buildings were erected in the late 1950’s.
Funded through the Proposition 55 state capital construction measure approved by voters in 2004, the $46 million-plus building is be located on East University Drive/Lindley Avenue, south of the Botanic Garden. The building’s main entry opens up to East University Drive and Sierra Walk, a major campus pedestrian promenade.
College of Science and Mathematics Dean Jerry Stinner said the building’s innovative design promotes interdisciplinary research between CUSN biology and math faculty, who for the first time are housed under the same roof. “We hear a lot today about the importance of interdisciplinary research and that the real advances are occurring at the margins,” said Dean Stinner. “The increased interaction between biology and math faculty will, I predict, result in increased collaboration in both teaching and scholarship.” The math faculty, he noted, has for many years not been physically present in the science buildings.
Interdisciplinary collaboration will be fostered not only through the physical location of work areas, but by providing common gathering areas for students and faculty. “We recognize that, increasingly, science and mathematics are a communal affair,” Stinner said.
Chaparral Hall’s 13 “smart” lecture rooms—seating a total of 770 science and math students at a time in 11,580 square feet of space—will help fill a critical need for more room.
“These relatively large classrooms are absolutely necessary to our growth,” said Dean Stinner. The College of Science and Mathematics’ rapidly growing student population—currently 2,872 fulltime equivalent students—is up more than 20 percent from the 2000-01 academic year enrollment.
The two larger lecture rooms accommodate 150 and 120 students and have tiered seating. Dubbed “smart” because of their technological advantages, all the rooms provide for Internet hookup and multimedia presentations.
When added to the existing lecture rooms available in the current Science 1 building (Live Oak Hall), which will remain operational to serve the college’s instructional and research needs, students and faculty will now have the use of nearly 335,000 square feet of space devoted to science and math learning.