DEARBORN, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--University of Michigan-Dearborn celebrated today the opening of its Natural Sciences Building, designed to facilitate collaborative learning and discovery and to prepare students for in-demand careers in the sciences.
“The new Natural Sciences Building reflects our commitment to students and faculty to provide the best learning and research facility possible,” said UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little. “When you tour the building, you will see the student-centered design and state-of-the-art research labs that are equipped for real world and hands-on instruction.”
UM-Dearborn announced renovations of the former Science Building in 2012 in response to growing student and industry demand. The Natural Sciences programs had seen a 21 percent increase in course enrollment and a study from the U.S. Department of Commerce noted that STEM jobs grew three times faster than non-STEM jobs from 2000-2010—and growth is expected to increase another 17 percent by 2018.
The $51 million renovation was supported by $30 million in funding from the state and included updated technology for teaching and research, nearly 40 laboratories, recitation rooms for interactive learning and student common areas to encourage collaboration. The structure is 99,404 gross square feet and was built to LEED Silver criteria. Four disciplines are located in the building—biology, chemistry, geology and environmental biology.
One thing missing from the new space? Hallways lined with offices. The Natural Sciences Building includes only two offices.
“This building reflects some very careful thinking on the part of the faculty in the natural sciences about the most effective teaching and learning strategies that exist in the field,” Little said. “It is student-centered; it encourages student-to-student collaboration; and it encourages hands-on, engaged learning. This approach will help our students gain the creativity and imagination that good work in the natural sciences requires.”
Nearly 200 people were on hand for the ribbon-cutting event. State Representative George Darany (D-15), College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Dean Marty Hershock and alumnus Eric Nemeth also gave remarks.