New Keck Building Will Expand Science Programs at the 5C’s

By Erin Matheson '18
Staff Writer

The planning stages for a second Keck Science building are under way. Scripps College, Pitzer College and Claremont McKenna College share the William Myron Keck Science building that houses majors such as biology, chemistry and physics. The three colleges have engaged the services of two firms— Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. (HGA), an integrated architecture, engineering and master planning firm; and the The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM), a multidisciplinary planning firm with an expertise in science facilities—who are working in collaboration to assist in the planning of the second, new Keck building. There is no certain time planned to break ground because the funds from each respective school have yet to be raised, but planning the initiative has already begun.

In Keck Science, enrollments have increased by 50% during the last decade. This increase has put pressure on the Keck Science departments to expand. Depending on projections on further enrollment growth and future class sizes, the sizes and increased programs in the building’s design will fluctuate. Regardless, the new building will contain additional research lab space, which will allow the department to hire additional tenure-track faculty and fewer visiting faculty. The site of the new Keck building hasn’t been finalized, but it will be on one of the Keck Science campuses close to the current Keck building.

According to David E. Hansen, the Dean of the Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges, “The department currently is using every square inch of our current building and is also using temporary teaching lab space on the Pitzer campus and temporary office space on the CMC campus. The new building will provide high-quality laboratory and classroom space that will allow us to enhance our program in numerous ways and to fully accommodate the needs of all of our students.”

Devon Fox (CMC, ‘18) said, “The new space will be a much needed and great learning environment.”

This sentiment is reflected by professors, too. “The Keck building is already 20 years overdue and in fact it was a part of the proposal that it would be a part of this building,” said Physics Professor Scot Gould, “It was actually going to be built before this building. The current building cost only $13.5 to $14 million. We need more space.”

The goals of this first “programming” phase with the outside contractors of the project are many, including advising on classroom and laboratory configurations to optimize science learning, estimating future enrollment trends in the sciences, and refining the approaches to integrating Keck’s programs into the larger educational missions of the colleges. According to Hansen, “The response has been very positive--our students see first-hand every day that we need more space!”