MT. PLEASANT (WJRT) - (01/17/17) - It's the largest capital project ever on the campus of Central Michigan University.
The $95 million Biosciences Building is the new home for science education and research.
"It is a dream come true in terms of teaching, and it's so exciting to have our students in the building now," said biology department chair and professor Dr. Tracy Galarowicz.
Just inside the doors of the 169,000 square foot building are two so-called "living walls".
"When you come into the building, you know it's a biology building, you see life, you see the plants, along with the fish aquaria down at the other end of the hall," Galarowicz said.
Also new are the active learning classrooms.
"The instructor facilitates interactions that they would have, just like when they leave college, they're going to be working with team members," Galarowicz said.
Ecology graduate assistant Jessica Kosiara can now do all of her work in one place.
"We didn't even have a lab in the old building, so we were so crowded in that building that our research group was actually off campus," she said.
Kosiara is studying perch in coastal areas of the Great Lakes.
As you might expect, the university focused on sustainability inside the new building.
You will even spot a few Made in Michigan touches.
"The aggregate in the floors here are from Clare, which are exposed," said Michael Hopkins, project designer with Stantec Architecture.
From the ground up, the Biosciences Building was built with research in mind.
CMU had to dig deep to assure the state-of-the-art microscopes and other equipment have a long life.
"We've got three foot thick slabs of concrete that have their own caissons. They go down several feet to reduce any kind of vibration and movement, which helps kind of the performance of those pieces of equipment," Hopkins said.
The university says the new building, new equipment and new ways to learn came together to keep up with student demand for scientific education and research.
"Before, we were very isolated, so this really opens up a lot of opportunity to be connected," Kosiara said.
The new building opened to students at the beginning of the semester after two years of construction.