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Nov. 18, 2008
CONTACT: Ward Mullens
ward.mullens@emich.edu 734.487.4400

EMU's new science complex will focus on interdisciplinary research

YPSILANTI — The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents, EMU President Susan Martin and state and community officials broke ground on a new science complex on the main campus today.

 “This project is more than a science facility. It represents EMU’s history and tradition of excellence in teaching and leadership in STEM disciplines,” said Susan Martin, president of EMU. “This advances undergraduate science education by creating a facility that encourages interdisciplinary research and learning among the science disciplines yet has flexibility to adopt new innovative approaches to teaching and research.”

The $90 million complex will include a renovation of the existing 180,000 square foot Mark Jefferson Building and the addition of a three-story section that will add 72,000 square feet to the facility.

The new addition will feature 36 science teaching labs.

“This will be enhanced teaching space,” said Marianne Laporte, head of the biology department at EMU. “Interdisciplinary labs are the wave of the future. To be able to solve an environmental problem, you can’t just use one discipline. This design really breaks down the walls.”

Building features will include: a new mechanical system serving the whole complex that will dramatically reduce energy consumption and costs; a “green” roof, which will present a teaching opportunity in sustainable building design and the main pedestrian pathway will include a rain garden, which will help filter and detain storm water runoff and provide a teaching opportunity for sustainable design.

Some of the more distinct features of the new complex will be a spherical shaped classroom; a pedestrian bridge will connect the west parking lots to the science complex; and the entry atrium will serve as a gateway and pass-thru from the west parking lots to the campus center.

The building is being funded through the sale of bonds and through a 4-percent tuition increase passed in 2005.

The architectural firm of Lord, Aeck and Sargeant, of Ann Arbor, designed the complex. Christman, of Ann Arbor, is the project contractor. DMJM Management, of Detroit, is the program manager.

The complex is expected to be completed in 2011.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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