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New Geosciences Building Requires Team Effort

Aug 17, 2015 - Jack Baldauf

The college is in the preliminary stages in planning a new building. It’s a complex process, and Jack Baldauf recaps the status and plans moving forward.

Faculty and staff have been meeting over the last two weeks with Dr. Valerian Miranda from Architecture to articulate ideas about the new building. We have begun the planning and design development, with the end of this semester targeted for completion. 

Design elements

  • The new building or building complex will house all elements of the College of Geosciences in College Station except the International Ocean Discovery Program.
  • Shared facilities will be the norm as it pertains to research, teaching and computer laboratories. The building design will facilitate collaboration at all levels.
  • Building design will incorporate preventative health strategies by implementing appropriate ergonomic furniture, equipment and other elements.
  • The complex will reflect the College’s leadership in environmental sustainability
  • Building infrastructure will be integrated, including chemical and waste storage, machine shops, and storage.
  • Storage space will be consolidated and where appropriate will eliminate the requirement of the Riverside campus and the TI building.
  • A student development center will provide integrated services consisting of advising, mentoring, recruitment, and a lounge.
  • Design will incorporate flexibility for future industrial, federal and international partners.
  • The design process will be transparent and provide stakeholders with the opportunity for input through surveys, questionnaires, and working group participation.

Working groups

Thirteen working groups, representing various college units, are helping establish specific goals: services, facilities, auxiliary facilities, IT connectivity, offices, teaching, student development, observing large data, technology, geochemistry and microbiology, isotope laboratories, scanning and microscopes, and rock. Each group has been asked to collect facts, determine future needs, and identify concepts that could potentially fulfill the group’s goals and needs. Examples include:

What does one want to achieve?

What are the drivers?

What are the current needs that must be met? How best to achieve these?

What are the future needs (next 15 years)?

What current elements can be reduced or eliminated?

What cost efficiencies are possible?

What is mission critical? desirable, if possible?

What other examples of outstanding facilities should be emulated?

Each team is responsible for:

  • Establishing goals relevant to the activity. For example, the Office Team will establish office goals for faculty, staff, and students.
  • Collecting facts relevant to the activity.
  • Determining future needs for the activity.
  • Uncovering concepts that could potentially fulfill goals and meet needs.

Between July and October each team member will be expected to participate in two or three working sessions of about an hour or two in length. Team members should ask solicit for input from their constituency as well as seek out and communicate relevant cutting-edge developments related to the overall scope of the working group.

A steering committee is charged with:

Developing an overall vision for the future of the College and formulating goals and needs as they relate to physical facilities.

  • Reviewing and providing input into the plan for scheduling the process, tasks and milestones.
  • Reviewing and providing guidance and direction to the 13 working groups.
  • Approving the program of requirements for future College of Geosciences facilities.

Steering committee and their units of responsibility:

Kate Miller and Jack Baldauf: Dean’s office, Environmental Programs, Water Programs
Ping Yang: Atmospheric Sciences, CACE, Climate Center, Office of State Climatologist
David Cairns: Geography, GEOSAT
Mike Pope: Geology and Geophysics, Berg-Hughes, Tectonophysics
Tony Knap: GERG
Brad Clement: IODP
Debbie Thomas: Oceanography
Pamela Plotkin: Texas Sea Grant

Tentative timeline (subject to change):

Week 3: Kickoff meeting with Steering Committee

Week 4:  Kickoff meeting with Working Groups and work sessions with groups individually, as necessary, through September

Week 1:  Complete documentation of existing facilities

Week 1: Surveys sent to faculty, staff and students

Week 3: Collect surveys
Week 4: Programing meetings with Work Groups

Week 1: Programing meetings with Work Groups

Week 3: Review meetings with Work Groups (individually)

Week 4: Review meetings with Work Groups (individually)

Week 2: Summary meeting with Work Groups (collectively)

If you have questions at any point in the process, please talk to your unit steering-group member or to me.

Jack Baldauf
Executive Associate Dean and Associate Dean for Research

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