New Chemistry, Biology buildings link science mall

Biology courses at CSU are among the university’s most heavily enrolled classes, with about 60 percent of students engaged in courses through this department as a focal topic of study or to fulfill enrollment requirements. Even with so much student interest in biology, the university currently doesn’t have a building dedicated to field of study. Instead, courses and research are spread across several buildings on campus.

This will change when the university breaks ground on a biology building in fall 2015, with a targeted completion of late 2017. With biology the largest major on campus at 1,400, students are so in support of creating a dedicated space for biology that they voted to support a student facilities fee to pay for $57 million of the total project, estimated currently at $70 million.

The building will include collaborative spaces for students, designed to promote creativity and connection, as well as classrooms with connected lab space, a large lecture hall, and state-of-the-art research facilities to faculty. The building will be well-lit, glass-walled with mountain and campus views, comprehensive education and research building, designed for maximizing collaboration among students, faculty and staff. It also will feature public spaces with open seating to foster ideas throughout the planned five stories.

The new building, designed with four goals in mind – capacity, efficiency, flexibility and functionality – is currently planned to be about 140,000 square feet and will connect to a larger science mall at the university, which will be a student destination and will serve as a south side gateway to campus. The mall will include existing buildings including Yates Hall, Microbiology, Anatomy-Zoology, Environmental Health, Pathology and the Painter Center, along with another new scientifically-focused addition, a planned Chemistry building.

Chemistry building enhances research capacity

The new Chemistry building will primarily provide research and teaching space for a second scientific field that is growing quickly in student interest and faculty research. Because of the success of faculty research, new space is needed to expand research and teaching programs. The new building will provide additional laboratory and research areas for faculty, which numbers have outgrown the capacity of Yates Hall. It will include 60,000 square feet of modernized research capacity, and is currently estimated at $60 million.

“Both buildings are designed for vertical integration where undergraduate and graduate students will work side-by-side with faculty and researchers in labs,” said Jan Nerger, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, which houses the biology and chemistry departments. “These two buildings represent an investment in excellence in the sciences and a commitment to research and education now and into the future.”

Construction on the Chemistry building is tentatively scheduled for spring 2016, to be completed late fall 2017.