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Department one step closer to new building

Students in the Social Sciences and Humanities departments may soon have access to a state-of-the-art facility free of leaking ceilings if the Board of Trustees approves a proposal presented by Provost Renu Khator to the Faculty Senate on Wednesday.

Pending authorization by the Board of Trustees and the statewide Board of Governors, the proposed Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan requests state funds be used to build a new $87.5 million, eight-floor building for the Social Sciences and Humanities departments.

Aimed at alleviating overcrowding on one side of campus, the building would replace the current Social Sciences building, which faculty members have called a health hazard citing odd smells, a lack of hot water and broken toilets.

“It’s bordering on uninhabitable,” said Steven Tauber, chair of the Faculty Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on Facilities. “I do most of my research at home because of the conditions in (Sociology).”

Calling the new plan an example of shared governance in action, Tauber emphasized that the building fits in with USF’s expressed goals as a tier-one research university while serving the needs of students.

“Obviously, in the Social Sciences and Humanities we do our research,” Tauber said. “We don’t have labs, but this building will give us access to what we need.”

The proposal also includes plans to raise private funds for a new library.

According to Vice Provost Ralph Wilcox, the library was originally slated for a massive renovation but said “a legitimate, mature research university deserves a functional, welcoming library.”

The new library would become the centerpiece of the USF library system, a pivotal part of the University’s bid to become the newest member of the American Association of Universities.