Strain Behavioral Science Building is undergoing major renovations and a name change in the coming months. Once construction is completed on numerous new laboratories, the building will be called Strain Safety Building and will house SRU’s nationally recognized Safety Management Department. These new improvements have department chair Joseph Cali excited about the future.
“I really believe that these new facilities will make us the number one Safety Management program in the country,” Cali said. “Students will benefit from these changes immensely moving forward; that’s what this is really all about. Students will be able to get first-hand experience that will put them way ahead of the curve.”
The renovation process has been underway for a few months now, with Strain’s auditorium being completely demolished. In its place, a new state of the art high bay construction safety lab will be erected. This lab will house brand new equipment such as a new jib crane, overhead crane, and a confined space simulator. According to Cali, it is the hands-on experience with these high-end materials that will give Slippery Rock students a competitive edge over other graduates in the field.
“This career field is incredibly competitive; it’s all about staying ahead and making sure our students are prepared to enter the workforce more prepared than ever before,” Cali said. “I have no doubt that these renovations will help us achieve that goal.”
The new equipment coupled with additional training fees will tally north of $500,000. In addition to the high bay construction safety lab, a general industry low bay lab will be housed where the old auditorium used to stand. The second floor will also see renovations be made to the Fire Safety and Industrial Hygiene Labs, with new equipment being provided for those labs as well.
Although Strain will now serve as the primary location of the Safety Department at SRU, it is not the only focus of the project. A student art gallery will be constructed in the basement along with a new ROTC lounge. New windows and air conditioning units are being installed, along with bathrooms being remodeled to increase accessibility.
“I get really excited about the renovation process. It will be nice for a growing field like Safety to be the primary occupant of Strain in the future,” Scott Albert, assistant vice president of facilities, planning and environmental safety, said. “This will allow the Liberal Arts and Modern Languages Departments to be closer together while also providing a home for Safety.”
Previously, Strain had shared department heads from Liberal Arts and Modern Languages with Spotts World Cultures Building. Presently, over 70% of faculty in both departments is housed in Spotts. For Albert, this decision is beneficial to all respective parties in the long run.
“This will make it much easier for department heads who might have been housed all the way on the other side of campus to interact with students and staff,” Albert said.
The initial plan for renovations to Strain were laid out in May of 2016. Despite the long planning process up until the start of construction, renovations are set to be finished in July of 2018, allowing for the new facilities to be used by students in fall of next year.