The University of Vermont recently completed the first phase of an expansion of its science, technology, engineering and math complex. The $104 million dollar project is the largest in the university's history.
The newly built Discovery Hall and the renovated Votey Hall will house most of the labs in the new STEM complex. Between the two buildings the university now has 25 teaching labs and 25 faculty research labs.
At UVM, STEM majors make up about a third of undergraduates and more than 60 percent of graduate students, according to David Rosowsky, provost and senior vice-president at UVM.
He said the new facility is meant to inspire and motivate students, regardless of their major.
Rosowsky said he’s particularly excited about the role the new complex can play in serving Vermont’s K-12 students.
“I like to think of it as a kind of ‘exploratorium’ where students from across Vermont can visit and plan a day of observing and hands on learning with our faculty and with our students and maybe they'll leave motivated to pursue STEM in their education and in their careers,” Rosowsky said.
Chris Landry, chair of the chemistry department, said the new buildings allow them to move forward with work they weren't able to do in the older buildings.
“So we were reaching a point in terms of safety and in terms of the experiments we could do, we were hitting a wall,” Landry said. “And so just moving to these new facilities allows us to sort of reset. So the whole thing is just like a night and day change for us.”
The funding for the $104 million project, according to a press release, comes mostly from bond funding.
The release states that $76 million of the total amount comes from bond funding, $10 million is from private gifts and $16 million is from the university’s reserve funding. The release also states that the UVM Foundation “is in active fundraising mode to raise the entire $26 million over and above the bond funding.”
A third part of the complex, Innovation Hall, is expected to be finished in May of 2019.