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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Interdisciplinary Science - STEM Teaching Facility - construct original building

Project phase: Planning/Design

More than a third of the university's teaching and research laboratories are housed in facilities that are over 40 years old. Modern design strategies that support best practices in teaching and research, reflecting shifts in instructional methods, code compliance, and the collaborative nature of research, are difficult to achieve programmatically and cost effectively in many of our older facilities.

In addition, over the past ten years, enrolled credit hours in STEM and STEM­ related courses have increased by 38%. Construction of a new laboratory instructional space supporting STEM disciplines is necessary to accommodate this programmatic direction, address the obsolescence of existing facilities, and increase operational efficiency. Such a facility would also align with the priority placed by the state and federal governments on educating more students in these disciplines. A new STEM teaching and learning facility would include modern wet bench teaching laboratories that incorporate active learning principles, foster cross-disciplinary teaching and learning, and support developing and evolving changes in curriculum and its delivery. The facility would consolidate a number of teaching laboratories that are currently dispersed across campus to create a central hub for STEM teaching and learning. Such a facility would address internal needs as well as State Capital Outlay criteria. Spaces made available as a result of consolidating teaching labs would be renovated and repurposed to accommodate additional research space needs in currently active research buildings.

At the same time, focusing on faculty research capability will enhance MSU's ability to attract acclaimed scientists and position Michigan as a center for STEM and related programs. MSU external awards have increased 54 percent over the last ten years. Further, the Board recently approved the Global Impact Initiative (GII), which is expected to bring 65-100 new research faculty hires to MSU over the next five years. The strategic vision of GII is to solidify MSU's place among the world's premier research and teaching institutions. New interdisciplinary science research laboratory capacity is key to this endeavor.

To successfully prepare for this future, it is necessary to plan simultaneously for additional research and teaching laboratory facilities through a strategic combination of new construction, renovation, and improved utilization of existing space.

Project details

The planning for the Strategic Academic Development Initiative will be comprehensive and will involve several construction projects, principally new STEM teaching and learning lab space and new interdisciplinary research  facilities. Locations for these projects are likely to include the Central Academic District generally adjacent to the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building, and the South Academic District at Service Road generally between Bogue Street and Hagadorn Road, generally adjacent to the Clinical Center.

The planning will evaluate programmatic emphases in STEM, in both teaching and research, such as the biological sciences, chemistry, engineering and neuroscience; consider programmatic and core facility adjacencies to facilitate interdisciplinary research and collaborations and to leverage operational efficiencies; be flexible and responsive to developing and emerging instructional methods and the evolving research enterprise; and employ site evaluation methods that account for infrastructure requirements. The projects may be configured in various ways depending on these factors, and the elements of each project will also depend on their locations and sources of funding.

It is anticipated that the components of this initiative will be brought to the Board for authorization to proceed based on urgency of programmatic need, State Capital Outlay status, and development of internal funding strategies.

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