College of Science and Engineering
ISELF building on track for 2013 opening
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Orange sparks flying and the hum of machinery indicate that construction is well under way on the St. Cloud State University ISELF building, which will provide upper-division students with real-world experiences.
The $44.8 million Integrated Science Engineering Laboratory Facility is expected to open in August 2013, and Ben Holmberg, McGough Construction site manager, said work is right on schedule.
Darrel Ashfeld, McGough employee and superintendent of the ISELF project, said the goal is to finish the roof by the end of October and have the entire building enclosed by the first of November. Enclosing the building means construction can continue at a fast rate during the winter, Ashfeld said.
Holmberg said this year’s mild winter allowed McGough to get a good start on the ISELF project, and they haven’t experienced any major setbacks. The building site used to be a ravine, and Holmberg said the soil’s ability to support the building was a minor concern going into the project but hasn’t turned out to be a problem.
The recent heat wave has raised some safety concerns for the approximately 50 workers on the project, and Holmberg said they have started working earlier in the morning to try and beat the heat.
“Sometimes things shift in the day-to-day schedule and we might be ahead in one aspect and behind in another but overall we’re right on schedule,” Holmberg said.
David DeGroote, dean of the St. Cloud State college of science and engineering, said ISELF is about collaboration and will encourage students to work with others outside of their major.
The workplace requires working with professionals from various fields of science and engineering, and DeGroote said ISELF will have adequate infrastructure to provide students with the opportunity to work across disciplines. Business students also will be incorporated in some fashion to teach science and engineering students how to market the products they create.
“That’s what the real world is ... it’s innovating ideas and bringing them forth as products,” DeGroote said.
DeGroote said ISELF also has potential for innovation in the private sector. Small precision manufacturers may offer applied learning examples for students to help them improve their products, which coincides with DeGroote’s vision of providing real-world experiences at St. Cloud State.
ISELF consists of three floors above ground and one below. Each level is about 25,000 square feet in size and the entire building is approximately 100,000 square feet.
The labs will be 3,500 square feet and 14.5 feet in height, which DeGroote said is the size of three or four regular classrooms. Utilities are in the ceiling, and can be easily moved along with most of the equipment to create each classroom to the specific needs of a project, DeGroote said.
ISELF is a space for students and faculty to conduct research and work on projects; it will not have office spaces in the building.
“These buildings are fully implemented with what people need, but they are not residential spaces,” he said. “The idea is that people will come, work and then leave.”
Holmberg said a combination of concrete and steel beams placed every five feet in the ceiling makes the building’s structure very rigid because some materials and equipment that will be used in the lab are fragile and can’t withstand vibration.
Because ISELF is a science building, Holmberg said McGough has taken extra precautions to ensure cleanliness, especially when equipment that must be kept sterile arrives.
Although the building is an expensive project, DeGroote said its ability to adapt the labs and classrooms each year makes it more cost effective.St. Cloud State is also taking steps to ensure ISELF is as sustainable as possible.
By Elisa Eiguren
St. Cloud Times
July 19, 2012