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Big Thinking, Big Progress: The Future of STEM Education

Groundbreaking ceremony set for CMU's new $95 million Biosciences Building

Contact: Heather Smith

​​The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony that will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 17 for Central Michigan University’s new $95 million Biosciences Building.

The ceremony will take place near the building construction site on CMU’s campus in Mount Pleasant between the Education and Human Services Building and the Engineering and Technology Building.

The largest capital project in CMU’s 120-plus year history, the four-story, 169,000-square-foot Biosciences Building will address escalating student demand and dramatically improve the quality and quantity of instructional learning and scientific research space.

“Today, 920 CMU students major in the biosciences compared to 450 in 2009, and more than 7,500 students a year take biology classes,” CMU President George E. Ross said.

Students will be able to start taking classes in the new building beginning in January 2017. It will house 40 research-active faculty members and provide space for classrooms and laboratories.

“Over the past decade, tenure-track biology faculty have increased 71 percent, and external grant funding increased more than tenfold,” Ross said. “This will create another student learning, research, high-tech, cutting-edge academic center that will contribute to the future needs of our students and faculty.”

The Biosciences Building also will help attract leading researchers and scholars to the university in the biological sciences areas, from molecular biology and biochemistry to organismal biology and ecology.

“Central Michigan University is a real force in STEM areas, for example through our management of a $10 million EPA grant to protect Great Lakes coastal wetlands and our training of teachers in STEM disciplines — to name just a few,” CMU Provost Michael Gealt said.

“We have outstanding programs; we offer tremendous, hands-on experiences to undergraduate students; and we are committed to providing them with the best education possible, as evidenced by our construction of a brand new Biosciences Building.”

A multipurpose auditorium, active learning classroom, informal meeting spaces and open floor plan will allow for adaptability, shared resources and a level of collaborative learning beyond what currently exists at CMU. Opportunities for collaborative research in the building will allow the university to continue to establish itself as a leader in human and environmental health.

Specialty research facilities will include:

  • An equipment storage, staging and sample-processing storage area for ecological fieldwork;
  • Biosafety Level 3 laboratory to research infectious diseases;
  • Isotope laboratory;
  • Imaging center for scanning and transmission electron microscopes;
  • Herbarium; and
  • Vivarium to replicate aquatic conditions for research.

The Biosciences Building will be at least LEED Silver Certified, balancing the safety needs of a modern science building with energy efficiency.

Central Michigan University’s Board of Trustees approved the construction of the new Biosciences Building in April 2013. The State of Michigan allocated $30 million for the building project, and the remaining funds are coming from CMU internal reserves, contributions and proceeds from the issuance of bonds.

Stantec Inc. is the lead architectural firm, which also designed CMU’s education building. Clark Construction Company is the construction manager.

Construction of the Biosciences Building is scheduled for completion in September 2016.

Click here for some fun facts and learn what it takes to bring a building this size to life.

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