MSU applauds state support for STEM teaching facility
For the first time in nearly 50 years, Michigan State University has received state funding to build a classroom building on campus. Through its capital outlay appropriation, the Michigan Legislature voted Tuesday to award MSU with $29.9 million in funding for construction costs for the new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility.
The most any one construction project can receive from the state is $30 million. The $29.9 million appropriation is pending final approval of the State of Michigan budget by Gov. Snyder. The total estimated project cost is $72.5 million.
During the past 10 years, enrolled credit hours in science, technology, engineering and math-related courses at MSU have increased by 38 percent. Construction of the new STEM facility will meet the growing needs of MSU’s students and provide them with the skills that are in high demand by employers across Michigan.
“The new state-of-the-art STEM Teaching and Learning Facility will be one more reason why students should choose to study at MSU,” said MSU Interim President John Engler. “This amazing new facility will not only leverage the research being conducted at MSU on STEM teaching and learning, but also will facilitate scientific interactions at the undergraduate student level and enhance the university’s ability to successfully compete for and retain talented students in STEM disciplines.”
The STEM facility will be located just south of Spartan Stadium, at the corner of Shaw Lane and Red Cedar Road, and include new construction of approximately 117,000 gross square feet that comprises an addition on the former Shaw Lane Power Plant’s north and south sides. The facility will house undergraduate teaching laboratories, project laboratories and breakout space that will support gateway courses for biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, physics and engineering. The old power plant has approximately 40,000 square feet that will be renovated to create a vibrant and active student commons and gallery, including a student help center and studio space, that seamlessly connects to the STEM facility.
“More than a third of the university’s teaching laboratories are housed in facilities that are more than 40 years old,” said MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt. “The pairing of the STEM facility with the renovation of the former Shaw Lane Power Plant is intended to support and promote interdisciplinary and collaborative opportunities in and outside the classroom.”
The power plant renovation will cost an additional $25 million. The full project will be presented to the Board of Trustees at their next meeting on June 22. With board approval, construction is anticipated to begin August 2018 with the facility ready for occupancy in September 2020.
Built in 1969, Wells Hall was the last building constructed on MSU’s campus with exclusive classroom space and funded with state dollars.