The University has begun a $130-million renovation of Sterling Chemistry Lab that is slated to be completed in August 2016, according to Provost Benjamin Polak.

Though the University had originally planned to build a $500-million Undergraduate Science Center, Polak said a capital project of that scale no longer made sense after the onset of the financial downturn in 2008. But amid increased emphasis on improving STEM teaching at Yale, Polak said administrators pushed for the renovation of Sterling Chemistry Lab during capital budget talks last spring. Construction on the north side of the building began this summer, he said.

“We asked to move [the SCL renovation] up in the schedule because it was so urgent, and the reason was we thought it was embarrassing that our teaching labs weren’t good,” Polak said. “We can’t be improving STEM teaching without better teaching labs.”

The shell of the building will remain the same, but all teaching labs, as well as some lecture facilities and classrooms, will be renovated, Polak said. The interior zig-zag roof, which currently leaks, will also be replaced, he added.

“We’re trying to do this in a way that disrupts research work as little as possible, but there will be some disruption,” he said.

Sterling Chemistry Lab is located at 225 Prospect St.