Virginia Commonwealth University to move ahead with $121m STEM facility project


Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has received funding approval from the state government for the construction of the $121m STEM education facility at the campus.

The funding will be used to construct a 168,000ft², six-floor building dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math education on the Monroe Park Campus.

Intended to provide easy and immediate access to STEM courses and labs, the facility is planned to be built at the site of the Franklin Street Gym, which is scheduled to be demolished in spring 2020.

VCU president Michael Rao said: “The new STEM facility will provide a state-of-the-art learning, research and collaboration space in a location that is in the heart of the student community.

"I am grateful to the General Assembly for their support. Their funding of the project speaks to their belief in VCU’s educational mission and the commonwealth’s goal to become the best-educated state by 2030.”

Comprising lab, classroom and office space for the College of Humanities and Sciences, the new science building will expand existing lab space and provide students with instructional and study spaces.

The building will feature 34 teaching labs; the Math Exchange, an innovative facility for math instruction; a Science Learning Centre; two large-capacity classrooms; computer labs; and large- and small-capacity flexible classrooms.

Additionally, the building will house instructional wet and dry labs and classrooms for teaching chemistry, biology, physics, math, psychology and kinesiology.

VCU College of Humanities and Sciences dean Montse Fuentes said: “This space is essential to provide experiential learning opportunities to our students, facilitate both innovative and flexible teaching methods, and provide students with both instructional and study space that will prepare them to become indispensable to our society.”

Ballinger and Quinn Evans Architects will design the building, which will be constructed by Hourigan.

Quinn Evans said in a statement: “This project is imagined to be a ‘centerpiece for the Monroe Park Campus’ as it will be the center for the College of Humanities and Sciences."


Image: A rendering of the STEM teaching facility. Photo: courtesy of Ballinger/Quinn Evans Architects.

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