ISELF is a game changer

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The groundbreaking crowd, seated between Wick Science Building and the Science Express

The groundbreaking crowd, seated between Wick Science Building and the Science Express.

Gov. Mark Dayton addresses the crowd at the Oct. 27 groundbreaking for ISELF Matt Julius, biology professor at the ISELF groundbreaking ceremony Aerial-view drawing of ISELF, the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility The groundbreaking crowd, seated between Wick Science Building and the Science Express President Earl H. Potter III at the Oct. 27 ISELF groundbreaking ceremony Samantha Ivey, president of Student Government, at the ISELF groundbreaking ceremony 

ISELF is the big idea, the game changer that will transform St. Cloud State into the Minnesota leader in science education and science business collaboration.

President Earl H. Potter III delivered that message at the Oct. 27 groundbreaking ceremony for ISELF, the $45 million science teaching-and-research building slated to be complete in 2013.

"This is a landmark event in the life of our university, for many reasons," Potter told a crowd gathered at the construction site. "Measured in dollars, it's the largest single construction project in campus history, creating and sustaining hundreds of jobs and laying the foundation for a research facility that will support Minnesota companies."

Known formally as the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility, the 100,000 square-foot structure will be built on Eighth Street South, east of the Education Building, at the site of the former 801 Building.

"ISELF will move St. Cloud State into the forefront of interdisciplinary education and the discovery of integrated solutions to complex, practical problems," Potter said.

Brad Goskowicz, CEO of St. Cloud-based Microbiologics, Inc., shares Potter's view of ISELF as transformative.

"We have been actively partnering with St. Cloud State in our programs. They've helped us develop products, they've helped us with technology," Goskowicz said. "This new building, I think, is only going to expand that for us and hopefully it will expand it for many other companies -- like Microbiologics -- in the area."

Microbiologics sells quality controls that ensure the quality and accuracy of testing methods in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, clinical and water industries.

Matt Julius, biology professor, said ISELF will force faculty and administration to battle bureaucratic barriers in new ways.

"Instead of saying 'No, we've never done that before' we'll have to give answers like 'yes, I think that could be a good idea, but we'll have to figure that out,' " said Julius.

"That's what this building is trying to do," Julius said after the ceremony, "is to bridge those barriers that crop up, for whatever reason, between the community, the private sector and academia."

ISELF is the crowning jewel in St. Cloud State's three-part Science Initiative, which includes the $14.5-million addition to the Robert H. Wick Science Building and the $13.6-million renovation of Brown Hall, both completed in 2009.

Teaching, learning and doing research in ISELF will be students, faculty and staff from the College of Science and Engineering and the School of Health & Human Services.

Also speaking at the ceremony were Gov. Mark Dayton, Scott Thiss, chair, MnSCU Board of Trustees; David DeGroote, dean, College of Science & Engineering; Samantha Ivey, president, Student Government; and Mike Ganz, vice president, Local Union 1, Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. Listen to remarks by Ivey and Ganz:

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