The gutted remains of the Psychology Building are in the process of being renovated to open by June 2014 with a new look, name and departments.
Construction on the structure, which will now take on the moniker of the Comal Building, began in May 2012, according to Juan Guerra, associate vice president of Facilities. The computer science and philosophy departments will occupy the building by August 2014, and classes will be held there next fall, he said. The remodeling project is budgeted to total $13.85 million.
“The building was well past a remodel due to its age,” Guerra said. “We upgraded the mechanical appliances, gave it a new AC and made it code compliant in electrical appliances. It will also be re-roofed and have easier stair access. We also gave it new IT systems.”
According to Guerra, nothing was added onto the building, but officials have reconfigured the building’s layout to make the facilities more evenly distributed. The classrooms will be able to hold 40 people, and conference rooms will have space for a meeting table and 15 people, he said.
The philosophy department will occupy the first floor of the building, and the computer science department will be located on the third floor, said Cheryl Morriss, computer science administrative assistant. The two departments will share the second floor, Morriss said.
The psychology department was relocated to the Undergraduate Academic Center after its construction and will remain there to accommodate future growth within the department, Guerra said. Currently, the computer science department is located in the Nueces Building with classrooms held in the Math and Computer Science Building, and the philosophy department is located in Derrick Hall, Guerra said.
The philosophy department was located in the former Psychology Building before remodeling began and has been housed in Derrick since the summer 2012. Department officials are anticipating the move to the Comal Building, said Vincent Luizzi, philosophy department chair.
“We will have offices and some classrooms in the building,” Luizzi said. “The main addition for the department is going to be a brand new dialogue room. Moving into to Comal Building will give us a central location again, and The Quad houses many of the liberal arts buildings, so we will feel at home.”
The department of computer science has been located in the Nueces Building since 2002, Morriss said. When renovations are complete, faculty and department offices and some labs will move into the Comal Building, but the classes will remain in Derrick, Morriss said.
Department officials hope to gain some room to grow with added space in the new building, said Hongchi Shi, computer science department chair. The new labs are designed to be larger to accommodate more research projects fueled by an increase in funding, Shi said.
“Our main concern is that the renovations will not be done on time,” Shi said.