ISELF: A behavior changer

Friday, July 20, 2012

A view from the northeast of the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility

A view from the northeast of the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility, under construction on Eighth Street South, east of the Education Building.

A view from the northeast of the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility ISELF is highly vibration resistant thanks to steel beams five feet on center Drawing of ISELF, viewed from the southwest David DeGroote, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, at the ISELF construction site 

The building President Earl H. Potter III calls “a game changer” is a rapidly evolving rectangle of steel and poured concrete on Eighth Street South, east of the Education Building.

Workers this week poured the top floor of St. Cloud State’s $45 million Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF). View the ISELF webcam.

By Halloween the 100,000 square-foot building should be enclosed, according to Ben Holmberg, project manager for McGough, the Roseville-based construction manager at-risk.

When the science teaching and research building opens fall semester 2013 it will transform how faculty work and students learn, according to David DeGroote, dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

Five words illustrate ISELF’s transformative promise:

Function – Learning activities and research projects will be driven by purpose, without regard to academic discipline. For example, in the senior design area, students of varying majors will team on projects, reconfiguring space and equipment to suit their needs. At the faculty level, this approach dovetails with the university’s cross-disciplinary Faculty Learning Community initiative.

Collaboration – Cooperation among programs and departments will be an ISELF mantra. DeGroote is so committed to this guiding principle that he is partnering with Herberger Business School to ensure business faculty and students participate in projects. Science innovation has no meaning unless it can be commercialized, said DeGroote. Collaboration has another dimension: Central Minnesota businesses, including more than 50 precision manufacturing companies, can prototype new processes using ISELF space and student-faculty ingenuity.

Flexibility – Most furniture and equipment will be mounted on wheels. Services will be delivered to three above-ground floors and one below-ground floor via three utility shafts. Those services will be made available overhead on a grid system that enables easy reconfiguration.

Scale – ISELF’s 14.5 foot ceilings, spacious freight elevator and large lab spaces are unprecedented in Central Minnesota. The 3,500 square-foot senior design area alone is roughly four times larger than any science lab on campus, according to DeGroote. With massive steel beams five feet on center, the building is highly vibration resistant. ISELF is the largest single construction project, measured in dollars, in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system history. View ISELF project updates.

Sustainability – The building will be certified for its green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions within the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework. Among the features delivering sustainability are low-maintenance stained-concrete floors.

ISELF lab space will be temporarily allocated to projects and teams of people, not permanently given to campus entities.  “They’ll come. They’ll work. They’ll leave,” said DeGroote.

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