STEM Teaching, Learning and Interdisciplinary Research Facilities

artist aerial-view rendering of new facility - tentative - pending scope finalization

Project Information


  • Construction


  • It is anticipated that MSU academic units will continue to experience significant growth in STEM-related teaching.
  • More than a third of the university's teaching laboratories are housed in facilities that are over 40 years old. Modern design strategies that support best practices in teaching and research and reflect shifts in instructional methods, use of technology, code compliance and emphasis on team-based and self-guided learning are difficult to achieve programmatically and are not cost effective 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 percent. 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 state and federal governments on educating more students in these disciplines.
  • A modern STEM teaching and learning facility is a key, competitive argument for why students should come to MSU to study.
  • The facility will not only leverage the research being conducted at MSU on STEM teaching and learning, but will facilitate scientific interactions at the undergraduate student level and improve the University's ability to successfully compete for and retain talented students in STEM disciplines.
  • There is untapped training potential that can be developed with the establishment of a facility that places instructors together based on the ability to create and investigate emerging pedagogies. These new pedagogies will help to ensure student success and better prepare students for graduation and professional careers in the fields of scientific discovery, health and engineering.
  • It will allow the University to create an environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.


  • To create a facility that includes 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 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 for a range of student experiences both curricular and co-curricular; provide opportunities for research on teaching and learning; support the evolution of teaching and learning methods; and create a campus hub for teaching and learning across the sciences, arts and humanities.


  • The STEM Facility will include new construction of approximately 117,000 gross square feet that comprises an addition on the north and south sides of the former Shaw Lane Power Plant.
  • The existing approximate 40,000 gross square foot at the former Shaw Lane Power Plant will be renovated to provide adaptive re-use of an existing facility.
  • The pairing of these two projects affords a unique opportunity for the university community to create a campus hub for teaching and learning.
  • The STEM 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 in a central campus location.
  • The former Shaw Lane Power Plant will house a vibrant and active student commons and gallery that seamlessly connects the STEM Facility addition and gallery. It will also include student studio space, an idea accelerator for faculty and students, the HUB for Innovation in Learning and Technology, student help center, the Biological Sciences Program offices  and the Undergraduate Research office. Collectively, this campus hub leverages programming, space utilization and sharing of physical infrastructure and operational resources.
  • The new construction and resulting pedestrian circulation, necessitate closing lot 79E, losing approximately 75 parking spaces. There is available parking in lot 79 to accommodate the lost parking.

Scope update (as of June 21, 2019)

  • In December 2018, the Administration, in consultation with the Board, opted to proceed with the addition of two large classrooms of approximately 15,000 square feet, with a budget of $6,500,000, which included $600,000 of project contingency, increasing the project total to $104,000,000. This change was less than 10% of the originally approved budget thereby not requiring a formal Board action.
  • As construction has progressed, it has become clear that the abatement of the Shaw Lane Power Plant is more extensive than anticipated. Despite early remediation of known asbestos in the building, more material has been exposed during the demolition and removal of remaining equipment and fixtures. In addition, the construction market reflects increasing competition for labor and materials. After review, the Administration proposes to increase the existing project by $2,700,000 to $106,700,000 for the facility. 


  • Construction start: June 2018
  • Ready for occupancy: February 2021


  • $110.1 million, including a $5.5 million contingency
  • The STEM Facility will be funded by a combination of State of Michigan Capital Outlay funding, the general fund or debt financing with debt repayment from the general fund.
  • The former Shaw Lane Power Plant renovations including the classroom addition will be funded by the general fund including classroom improvements reserve, teaching and learning environment reserve; utility reserve, the Jenison Trust and/or debt financing with debt repayment from the above sources. 

Construction Junction progress update

Capital project number

  • CP17133


Ken Gottschalk
Project Manager (517) 353-7234