UW-Stevens Point’s Chemistry Biology building on track to open this fall
For the City Times
STEVENS POINT — The long-awaited $75.18 million Chemistry Biology Building at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is on track to open for students this fall, with departments and equipment moving in this summer.
Construction of the first major free-standing academic building in 40 years began in spring 2016. The 176,500-square foot building was designed as a state-of-the-art, science-on-display facility for the chemistry and biology departments. Miron Construction, the general contractor, turned the building over to UW-Stevens Point May 1, after 150 subcontractors and more than 1,500 employees worked on the project.
The building is now being outfitted with laboratory equipment, materials and furnishings. The Chemistry Department moved into the new space June 5, and the Biology Department started their move today. Faculty members are moving their offices over throughout the summer.
“The faculty and staff in our department have been working incredibly hard to ensure that we’re ready to tackle the fall 2018 semester in the new building,” said Jason D’Acchioli, a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. “This building is arguably the best-equipped facility among the 11 four-year UWs that focus on teaching. But what makes it special are the people inside of it, who will work side-by–side with students to train the next generation of scientists.”
The June 12, 2017, storm that rocked the Stevens Point area was an untimely setback for the project, but crews repaired damage to drywall, insulation and cables while building from the top down.
”The delay complicated the schedule for moving in and working around contractors,” said George Acker, interim director of Facilities Planning. “But Miron and numerous subcontractors worked hard to get back on schedule, and we expect to meet our goal of teaching in the building in the fall.”
The building has 58 research and teaching laboratories, two lecture halls, seven classrooms, a café, green roof and tropical conservatory. Work on the glass conservatory will continue through the fall. Flexible room configurations combined with modern technology will support hands-on learning and student research, hallmarks of a UW-Stevens Point education.
A grand opening event will be held Friday afternoon, Sept. 14, with a ribbon-cutting and public tours of the building. The opening also includes a free, public lecture Thursday, Sept. 13, by Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University. “Science Matters: Inspiring Creativity and Discovery,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Michelsen Hall of the Noel Fine Arts Center. Limited complimentary tickets will be available starting Monday, July 23, at tickets.uwsp.edu.
The project was approved by the State Building Commission through $75 million in capital funding as part of the state’s 2013-2015 biennium budget. This capital budget is separate from the university’s base state operations budget and UW-Stevens Point’s fiscal challenges. Capital projects are not subject to cuts to the UW System, nor can the cuts be reduced through capital funding.