Phil Castle, The Business Times
Construction is scheduled for completion in about a year on a new building at Colorado Mesa University housing a growing engineering program as well as a math and science center.
Speaking at a groundbreaking event, CMU President Tim Foster said the project
constitutes a result of partnerships between CMU and University of Colorado in offering engineering degrees and
between CMU and John McConnell Math and Science Center to bring the facility to the campus.
John Williams, vice president of the center board of directors, said the collaboration will encourage more children to explore careers in math and science and ultimately join the local work force. “This is an absolutely sensational day for this community.”
The project constitutes a first for CMU in that the building will front Seventh Street as the Grand Junction campus expands.
The building, scheduled for completion in fall 2017, will encompass 68,700 square feet and house classrooms and laboratories for the mechanical and civil engineering degree programs. The math and science center will occupy about 14,000 square feet.
Shaw Construction will serve as general contractor for the project.
The new building is budgeted to cost $25.4 million. The math and science center is expected to pay $5.5 million for its portion of the project.
CMU and CU announced earlier this year an expansion of a collaboration to add civil engineering to a program that already offers a mechanical engineering degree.
The program enables students to earn bachelor’s degrees from CU while attending classes at CMU. Students complete CMU coursework their first two years and CU coursework their final two years. About 400 students are enrolled in the program. The first graduates of the civil engineering program are expected to earn degrees in 2019.
The math and science center currently operates out of space at New Emerson School in Grand Junction.
John McConnell, a retired physicist, founded the center in 1990 as part of his efforts to educate and mentor public school students on math and science. The center offers interactive displays, special events, field trips and resources for parents and teachers.
Williams said the center distributed about 15,000 kits to teachers last year to help them with their science instruction. “It’s a big deal for this community.”
The engineering building and math and science center will be constructed along Seventh Street between Elm and Kennedy avenues and next to what expected to become an engineering quad. Under additional plans for the area, Elm Avenue will become a pedestrian mall as the CMU campus expands westward.