Construction, Higher Education, and Technology

GVSU’s $42 million science building under construction

Building will feature nearly 30 labs and 160 offices.

March 21, 2014
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GVSU's $42 million science building under construction
The new science building is intended to achieve LEED Silver certification. Courtesy GVSU

A new research and science building is under construction at Grand Valley State University.

GVSU is investing $42 million in a 151,000-square-foot science laboratory building on its Allendale campus to address the growth in science courses at the university. The four-story building will include classrooms, laboratories and office space to support education in the sciences.

James Moyer, associate vice president for facilities planning at GVSU, said course growth includes instruction in the environment, health care and applied sciences fields.

“Life science departments have been one of the contributing factors of GVSU’s growth in the sciences as students take several courses in these departments before secondary admission to nursing and health professions,” said Moyer.

Adding the cost of engineering, classroom and lab equipment, and office furniture, the entire project is expected to total $55 million. A $30 million state capital outlay and university bonding will go toward funding the project. The capital outlay portion of the state budget refers to the “planning and financing of construction, renovation, remodeling, repair, and maintenance of facilities and capital assets for use by state agencies, state-supported public universities and community colleges,” according to the Michigan Senate website.

Moyer said design planning began roughly two years ago, and ground-breaking took place in May 2013. The project is intended for LEED Silver certification. 

The building was designed by Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc., which is based in Grand Rapids. Research Facilities Design is the lab consultant, and Pioneer Construction is serving as construction manager.

The new building will contain nine classrooms and 15 teaching laboratories, in addition to a computational research lab and 14 faculty/student research laboratories. Other accommodations include environmental zones, study spaces and more than 160 offices.

Research conducted at the building will depend on “the interest of the faculty members and the funding availability to conduct the research,” Moyer said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment projections for 2012 to 2022 in December 2013 stating 19 of the 30 occupations projected to grow in the next 10 years require some form of postsecondary education. In addition, 14 of the 30 occupations projected to increase the most are related to health care. 

The anticipated growth for occupations requiring a degree or coursework in sciences is one of the factors that drove the decision to build the laboratory, according to Moyer.

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