Anyone who’s been on campus anytime in the past year has probably seen the construction around the science building. That project is the renovation to the science building to update and add laboratory space and makeover the interior.
The science building was one of the first buildings University of Michigan-Dearborn built in 1959, and with modern equipment becoming larger, it has grown short on interior space. The renovation will add up to 20,000 square feet, student spaces throughout the building, and a penthouse to hold all mechanical systems.
According to Kathleen Pepin, Director of Facilities Planning at UM-Dearborn, the actual construction is the last phase of the renovation.
“We started planning long ago,” Pepin said. “It literally takes five years to build a building like this.
“We start with conceptual design and schematics, which gives us a rough idea of what it will look like. Then design and programming lets us know what we need in order to function in that space for the program to continue on.”
The state of Michigan is providing $30 million of funding to the $51 million total cost of renovation.
Classes and offices were moved out of the building when construction began in winter 2014. The new science building will be finished in summer 2016 and will begin to hold classes in the fall 2016 semester.
Pepin said the goal is to make sure the building looks like it belongs on campus. It will have the standard red brick exterior seen on buildings across campus. It will be three stories – basement, first and second floors.
The interior of the building will feature student spaces on every floor. The space is intended for studying, meeting with faculty, and group collaborations. There is also going to be a geology collection on display near a student area.
There will be a few offices in the science building, but the building is going to be used primarily for laboratories. In addition to the new space, the university is updating most of its laboratory equipment.
The building design and construction is intended to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. When looking at landscaping design, Pepin wanted low maintenance, low water use, and chemical-free plants.
This idea led to the design of the sustainable permaculture orchard that will be installed between the science building and the academic support center. The orchard will feature apple trees, blueberry, cranberry, strawberry and kiwi plants in addition to flowering plants.
“We’re looking for students who really want to take hold of the permaculture orchard to manage and maintain it,” Pepin said. “The first year of growth is when it’s critical that we have people there to manage it.”
Students or organizations interested in getting involved with the permaculture orchard can contact Kathleen Pepin at firstname.lastname@example.org .