New CAEST building to fill gap in Science Mall strip

Labor foreman, Dale Macgraw, sets the string for a machine at the R-8 parking lot on Monday, July 15, 2013. Photo by Yolanda Li.

Cindy Deng

The College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology’s (CAEST) new building will begin construction sometime in August.

The goal of the new building is to keep STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) concentrations in one designated spot, as the college is currently housed in Van Deusen Hall away from the Science Mall. Michael Bruder, executive director of Facilities, Planning and Design, said the new $16 million building will be built on a portion of the R-5 parking lot, specifically between the Mathematics and Computer Sciences Building and the Liquid Crystal Materials Science Building and spanning about 50,000 to 55,000 square feet. He said that portion of the R-5 lot will be moved to the green space behind the Liquid Crystal Materials Science Building, which will be designated as the R-8 lot.

“The CAEST project started probably around three and a half years ago,” Bruder said. “I’ve always wanted to have another building in that section along the Science Mall. I always called it the missing tooth.”

Bruder said the building will be two stories tall and will house classrooms, labs and administrative and faculty offices. He said the basement will be designated for the Air Traffic Control Center, labs, mechanical room and support spaces. The first floor will have a lobby, classrooms and additional labs. The second floor will have the administrative and faculty offices, smaller classrooms and seminar rooms. Issac Nettey, associate dean of CAEST, said the new building provides a marketing tool to prospective students.

“It speaks to the university of STEM education,” Nettey said. “This building, at this point, has not been a recruitment tool.”

Nettey said the college works in a multidisciplinary approach to research and instruction, which means that they work with multiple concentrations, especially with the sciences, to conduct research and instruct their classes. With the college’s new Liquid Crystal and Display Engineering concentration coming Fall 2013, he said moving closer to the Science Mall made sense.

“It will be nice to move into a new building,” Nettey said. “Hopefully we can engage in even more collaborative work.”

As for the R-5 lot, it will still maintain 200 parking spaces and have an entryway to the R-6 lot, according to Brian Pickering, project manager at the Office of the University Architect. In addition to this project, walkways will be added between Henderson Hall and the new lot.

Depending on how the weather will be throughout the rest of the summer, he said the construction crew is aiming to complete the parking lot by the end of August.

“It’s working out very well,” Pickering said. “Certainly you’re going to run into issues and concerns and things we have to work around. We’re really trying to systematically move people where spaces are ready.”

Bruder said the foundation of the new CAEST building will begin sometime in August and the construction will continue throughout the upcoming school year. The building is expected to finish by Fall 2014. He said once the college is moved out of Van Deusen Hall and into the new CAEST building, the construction crew will begin renovating the vacant building for the School of Art.

“From a campus planning standpoint, having the faculty and the students all in that same corridor together will help with a lot of research ideas and activities,” Bruder said. “It’s currently happening to some degree, but locating them here is only going to strengthen that whole scientific corridor.”

Contact Cindy Deng at [email protected].