Science Building closure sends students to Annex

Students of the biology 100 class meet in the Annex located near Lake Merced Boulevard due to the recent closure of the Science Building. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

Students taking science classes at SF State were relocated to other areas on campus on the first day of the Spring 2014 semester after the discovery of toxic substances closed down the Science Building earlier this month.

Most classes have been relocated to vacant rooms throughout campus including Hensill Hall and the Annex, a recreational facility that also housed the library during construction of the new one.

Over winter break the University alerted students, faculty and staff that mercury was discovered in the building. Upon further testing, lead and asbestos were also found. This lead to the closure of the Science Building on Jan. 10 for the rest of the spring semester.

“It’s pretty chaotic since it’s the first day and I just found out a few days ago,” said Stephanie Antonio, a junior biology chemistry major whose class was relocated to the Annex.

Assistant biology Professor Blake Riggs taught his cell biology class of 150 students Monday afternoon in the Annex.

Riggs lectured on a stage the University uses for live events while his students sat in plastic chairs without desks to write on.

Riggs said he was not surprised of the closure after noticing the Science Building and Hensill Hall where he also taught had been in poor condition for several years.

“It’s been an inconvenience and it really underlies a growing problem at SF State,” he said. “If you want the best university you need to put funds into infrastructure or you’re going to have this problem.”

Some students, such as Pablo Morales, who recently tore his ACL, have taken advantage of the Disability Programs Research Center’s service to get rides down to classes in the Annex.

Morales, a biology and physiology major was also concerned about lab space outside of the Science Building and said he had yet to receive any information as to where his class was relocated to.

According to Riggs, some classes have shifted their lab space to Hensill Hall, but engineering department among others, are still “all over the place.”

Xpress has recently learned that some temporary lab space is being built in portable units, though this information is unconfirmed.

Students can find out more information about the building closure by visiting