BYU to tear down one building, construct another and add to Bean Museum

Published: Thursday, Nov. 10 2011 9:30 a.m. MST

An artist's rendering of the new Life Sciences Building, with the view from the southwest.

Courtesy of BYU

BYU announced this week it will construct a new Life Sciences Building on the south end of campus.

"When it is finished, it's going to be a nice addition to the campus and serve as a gateway on the south end," BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead said.

The construction will begin immediately and take three years. Completion is scheduled in 2014.

The BYU Board of Trustees also announced a 30,000-square-foot addition to the Monte L. Bean Life Sciences museum, which will have a bird exhibit in the centerpiece from the collection of President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

"With any new construction on campus, there's going to be some minor changes that faculty and students will see," Hollingshead said. "Hopefully it will be just some minor adjustments and go about business as usual."

The new Life Sciences Building will be 265,000 square feet and will have five levels and a 250-stall parking structure.

"It will be a welcoming and inviting building and will include a center corridor that will lead students directly up the hill to campus," said Brian Evans, chief financial officer and administrative vice president at BYU.

Before Okland Construction begins the project, the 32,943-square-foot Benjamin Cluff Jr. Building will be razed by the end of fall semester. The Cluff Building is named for BYU's second president, and was completed in 1954.

Once the new Life Sciences Building is completed, the university will demolish the Widtsoe Building, built in 1968 and now serving as the current home of the College of Life Sciences. The Widtsoe Building is 211,000 square feet. It was named for the late Elder John A. Widtsoe, a BYU teacher, scientist and apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which operates BYU. While an apostle, Widtsoe was a member of the BYU Board of Trustees.

The construction and demolition schedule was planned to ease the transition.

"Everyone will be able to continue to operate as usual," Hollingshead said. "The Cluff Building has a number of greenhouses and those have already been moved off site by Kiwanis Park."

The building will include 16 teaching labs, four conference rooms, three auditoriums and more than 70 academic offices. The faculty and labs currently calling the Cluff and Widstoe buildings home will move their business to the new facility.

"I would say this building like any building goes through a pretty extensive review as far as campus planning," Hollingshead said. "We look at our buildings and see if we need something to upgrade it. They looked at the master plan and the facilities, and looked at this building and determined it was needed."

EMAIL: sgambles@desnews.com

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