The NDSU campus community has taken its first look at preliminary plans for the new STEM Education Building.
At an open forum Dec. 4, faculty and staff viewed architectural plans and conceptual drawings for the structure that will house laboratories and classrooms. The building will be used heavily for science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related courses, but will be flexible enough to be used by the entire campus.
Working with a budget of $28.1 million, architects and an NDSU advisory group are planning a three-floored building that will be located just east of the Memorial Union and west of Churchill Field. It will include approximately 120,000 square feet of space.
The forum was led by Mike Ellingson, Facilities Management director and chair of the project's campus advisory committee, and members of the design team for Zerr Berg Architects of Fargo.
"This building is a very exciting project for NDSU," Ellingson said, noting some modifications are expected before plans are finalized. "The collaboration of this advisory group and the ability to engage many smaller workgroups on campus have helped create a flexible and unique building like no others in the region."
Traditionally, university buildings are used by a specific department or college. NDSU's new STEM Education Building is designed to be shared by the entire campus, which will increase functionality, use and efficiency.
Described as an innovative structure that combines aesthetics with functionality, the building will feature a glassed-in first floor. The building will have a wide variety of classrooms, ranging from a lecture-style 300-seat auditorium to small classrooms that can function as either interactive learning or lecture rooms to technology-intense interactive classrooms to 25-person classrooms. Laboratories will range from high mechanical needs labs with fume hoods to a wet lab to problem-based learning areas and labs that are flexible in design with moveable furniture.
"We're trying to make this building one that meets the needs of the entire university," said architect Stephanie McDaniel, who is planning the laboratories and classrooms. "The spaces in the building are primarily for STEM instruction. They need to be very flexible for a variety of uses and different teaching styles."
Lead design architect Craig Peterson said the building walls will have large areas of glass to give it an engaging feel and provide a welcoming appeal from all directions. "We want a building that is unique to NDSU," he said. "We want a place of learning, a place of teaching, a place of study that is culturally rich. And, hopefully, it will be the place to be."
Brian Berg, Zerr Berg Architects principal-in-charge, said, "This is such an exciting project and we are thrilled to be a part of it. I would say 80 percent of our design team are graduates of NDSU, so it's a treat for us to be involved. We take that charge very seriously."
Construction is anticipated to begin in April or May 2014, with the project completed in fall 2015.