Construction of Smith Natural Resources Building addition kicks off in May

Renderings of MSNR Building Addition

Warner College of Natural Resources is looking forward to constructing an addition to the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building following the spring 2017 semester. The college, along with partners in CSU Facilities Management, recently hired 4240 Architecture and Pinkard Construction to design and construct the addition.

A Great Leap Forward

“We are consistently growing our college and its impacts on the world,” said John Hayes, dean of Warner College. “Often, that steady progress is measured in inches and feet, but occasionally we take a great leap forward and measure in miles. This is one of those times.”

seven people with shovels and hardhats turning over soil in a groundbreaking ceremony
Donors and University officials turn a spade to commemorate the groundbreaking and launch of the design process for the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building.


The roughly 40,000-square-foot addition provides much-needed space for the growing college: a student success center, state-of-the-art teaching labs, meeting space and a new home for the Center for Collaborative Conservation. The building design harkens to both the college’s connections to natural resources and its enduring commitment to sustainability.

Reflecting Warner College Values

“The building architecture reflects nature as well as the programs housed within through strong transparent connections, views and vistas to the outdoors, and through the use of extensive natural daylighting as well as durable and sustainable materials,” explained University Architect Mike Rush.

4240 and Pinkard are no strangers to the CSU campus — both have recently completed a number of high-profile projects familiar to students. Both worked on recent renovations to the Eddy Building. Pinkard built the Behavioral Sciences Building and recently completed the South College Parking Garage. 4240 designed the Pavilion at Laurel Village and Aggie Village.

The college is fully committed to creating a sustainable building, and is working with Pinkard and the project’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, consultants from CSU’s Institute for the Built Environment to achieve the highest LEED certification possible on the addition.

Support from Students and Donors

The majority of funding for the $20 million project comes from CSU’s students through support from the University Fee Advisory Board as well as a group of committed donors.

Michael and Iris Smith
Michael Smith and wife Iris enjoying the groundbreaking ceremony for the Michael Smith Natural Resources building at Homecoming and Family Weekend 2016.

Philanthropy for the building was catalyzed by a gift from Ed Warner, for whom the college is named. Natural gas entrepreneur Michael Smith provided the critical final gift to get the project started, and the building now bears his name. Additional support came from CSU alumni John and Dolores Goodier and others.

“This project would never have been possible without the tremendous support of a great group of donors who are committed to our college’s success,” said Hayes. “CSU’s students and administration were also critical in providing additional support, and we’re proud that students valued this project enough to lend significant funding to the effort.”


ed warner holding napkin
Ed Warner tells the story of sketching a new natural resources building on the back of a napkin with former Warner College Dean Joyce Berry at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building.


The building designs are being finalized, and construction is slated to begin in mid-May. Students will begin enjoying the space and taking classes in the addition in fall 2018. The existing building will remain open and accessible throughout construction.

The generous gifts supporting the project help propel CSU toward its $1 billion “State Your Purpose” fundraising campaign goal to invest in the university’s pursuit of excellence.

To date, CSU has raised more than $767 million and is well on its way to hit the $1 billion milestone by 2020 to celebrate the University’s 150th birthday. To learn more, visit