NDSU held a groundbreaking ceremony May 22 for the new STEM Classroom and Lab Building. Photo courtesy of North Dakota State University“This is a history-making day,” said President Dean L. Bresciani during the event, which was attended by an estimated 150 people. “We are having the groundbreaking today for an exceptional building.”

He said the new facility is designed for high use and cost efficiency, with the potential for around-the-clock use. Construction is scheduled to begin later this month or early June.

The state-funded building will house classrooms, labs and study areas, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related courses, known as STEM.

The building will have three floors and more than 109,000 square feet. It is designed to enhance student learning through state-of-the-art classrooms and labs. Active-learning classrooms will have multiple projectors that will allow students to work in groups and immediately give a presentation that includes visuals. Classrooms also will feature swivel seats, so the rooms can easily be arranged in any configuration. Many of the labs will have moveable tables to provide room set-up flexibility. Other labs will be outfitted with more specialized equipment, such as fume hoods and biosafety cabinets, while one lab is designed for work with fluids.

The building design breaks from the tradition of a university structure being used by a specific department or college. The emphasis will be on STEM courses, but any discipline will be able to hold classes there.

“We are using what is called a universal design approach,” Bresciani said, noting an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 students will use the building each day. “It means it is for everyone to use. No department or college owns a floor in the building, a wing in the building or even a classroom. They share the building and most of the space within it.”

Bresciani spoke of the vision and support of state legislative leaders and the campus committee members who worked to move the building forward.

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley said the leading-edge building meets an important need. “It’s all about the future. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics have to be taught, learned and utilized for the betterment of mankind,” Wrigley said. “This will continue to provide opportunities for students coming here in greater and greater numbers, because they want to be in a place that cares about education and gives them the opportunity to go out and change the world.”

Hilary Haugeberg, student body vice president, said, “Our current and future students will cherish the academic spaces created and take pride in opportunity for all in such spaces. Our university and state can be proud of the legacy that will be created with this magnificent gift.”

“It’s going to be a great day when this building is constructed, and students will have a wonderful educational experience because of NDSU’s commitment to students,” said State Sen. Tony Grindberg. “It’s going to be a great facility.”

The STEM building will be located east of the Memorial Union and west of Churchill Field. It is scheduled to be completed by spring 2016.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private institutions by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.