In line with the University’s goal to develop world-class facilities for its students, constructions and renovations will be on full-scale this year with progress in the Campus Renewal Plan in the Manila campus, and with the development of two new research centers in the DLSU Science and Technology Center (STC).
STC research centers
Two research facilities will rise in DLSU STC in Binan, Laguna* beginning this year to fuel research and to cater to the growing needs of the Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE), College of Computer Studies (CCS) and the College of Science (COS).
Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Dr. Raymond Tan explains that the DLSU Manila campus’ limited space may constrain the scale and scope of possible research activities of the University, citing as an example the engineering students doing their experiments in the open area between the Velasco and Miguel buildings. He also adds that the facilities and equipment housed in the Science and Technology Research Center (STRC) are better placed in separate specialized locations.
“Because of the way we’ve grown in this campus, we’ve basically been putting up the labs wherever space is available,” he tells.
In order to address the need for better research facilities, two buildings, the Hangar and the Clean Building, will be built to house distinct laboratory functions.
The Hangar, so named because of its resemblance to the typical aircraft hangar, will have a large open space in the middle for equipment testing, with rooms on either side. Tan explains, “The idea is that you have a large open space in the middle where you can do all the dirty engineering work… and you can put equipment that could be as large as two storeys high. If it’s dusty, it’s fine, because it’s confined within that space.”
Next to the Hangar will be an open field, referred to as The Bambars, primarily where models and equipment built and used indoors can be taken for outdoor testing.
The Clean Building, meanwhile, is designed for more sensitive equipment and testing. This will house “clean rooms” or specialized rooms for dust-free tests, vibration-proof equipment and experiments involving biohazards, among others.
Designs of both buildings are currently being finalized and groundbreaking is targeted for February 2014, with the constructions beginning soon after. Completion of the structures is expected to be in the summer of 2015, the same year of the planned shift in the academic calendar.
The Hangar and the Clean Building are part of the first phase of long-term projects to develop a strip of research and academic buildings and facilities in a portion of STC. “The whole [STC campus] is roughly 50 hectares, so [this strip will be] around seven or eight hectares, which is still bigger than what we have in Taft. A nice way to picture it is to imagine Bonifacio High Street, but with academic buildings on either side,” says Tan.
In line with the construction of the Hangar and the Clean Building, there are also plans of academic programs to be offered under GCOE and COS, in parallel with but not identical to the Manila campus’ existing programs. Tan tells that the programs will include fields such as Food Technology, but that these are currently still under deliberation in the respective colleges. According to Dr. Rosemary Seva, Dean of GCOE, these programs will be available by the year 2022, after the full integration of the K-12 program.
Once completed, all the facilities in STC will be made available to students in the Manila campus and vice versa. One possibility Tan probes is shuttling students between campuses once or twice a term, or as needed by the subject, for them to utilize the facilities. Other activities held in the Manila campus which may be fully transferred to the new buildings include the concrete testing currently conducted in STRC, and the development and test runs of the Solar Cars.
Tan concludes that while many people will expect immediate results in terms of growth in student population and research output, projects like this will take much longer for its effect to be fully realized, and even decades for development to be completed considering the size of the campus.
Progress in the Campus Renewal Plan
Alongside the constructions in STC, a few changes are also set to take place in the Manila campus, including the restoration of the old façade of St. La Salle (LS) Hall after the demolition of the North and South conservatories which began in December 2013, as well as the transfer of the Pearl of Great Price (PGP) Chapel to the area currently occupied by the Ariston Estrada Seminar Room complex.
These developments are made in line with the University’s Campus Renewal Plan, a project aimed at retrofitting the University’s buildings, and reconstructing and developing new and old facilities to create an environment that is more conducive to research and students’ learning. In addition, this project addresses the lack of spatial planning brought about by multiple years between the constructions of the different buildings in the campus.
The Campus Renewal Committee, which came out with the Campus Master Plan in Academic Year 2009-10, is at the level of the Board of Trustees, while overseeing the current developments and continuously reviewing and revising the master plan as needed is the Campus Development Committee headed by Edwin Santiago, Vice President for Administration.
The project began with the conceptualization and then construction of the Centennial building, the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall, which now stands in the area formerly occupied by the football field. The retrofitting of LS Hall was also conducted during the period of construction of the Centennial Hall.
Because administrative offices, seminar halls, discussion rooms, and the library have been centralized into the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall, the University is now in the process of making functional the spaces previously occupied by these offices. The third floor of Yuchengco building where some administrative offices were located is now operational with more classrooms.
The building which formerly served as the library now serves as a faculty center, housing departments under the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). The spaces left vacant in William Hall by this transfer of CLA faculty departments have been occupied by departments from the College of Science (COS), which were previously located in St. Joseph (SJ) Hall. These rooms in SJ, meanwhile, have yet to be converted into useful space.
Apart from this, the plan includes the renovation of some locations whose functions have become redundant since the establishment of the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall. This includes the demolition of the conservatories and soon the Ariston Estrada Seminar Room complex.
* Note: While the integrated school is located in Canlubang, Laguna, the greater portion of the Science and Technology Center is located in Binan, Laguna. Part of the campus, specifically the driveway, also extends to Sta. Rosa, Laguna.