Webster University Hosts Groundbreaking for Interdisciplinary Science Building

Sep. 9, 2015

Webster University Hosts Groundbreaking for Interdisciplinary Science Building
A rendering of an interior space in the Interdisciplinary Science Building

ST. LOUIS – Webster University took a significant step toward the future today. A groundbreaking ceremonywas held at 11:30 a.m. today (Sept. 9) for the Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB), a construction project that will triple the number of science labs on campus, support greater academic collaboration, and position the University to meet the region’s employment needs for decades to come.

The groundbreaking has been years in the making. To get to this point, the University has made significant changes to the campus, from adding a left-turn lane to rewiring the campus’ connections to the region’s power grid. Construction on the building will begin next spring.

Watch a video of the groundbreaking ceremony

“Meeting the needs of Webster’s students and advancing this region’s growing strengths require a state of the art building for faculty, staff, and students who will collaborate across disciplines and engage with the broader community,” said Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, president of Webster University. “Long awaited, the Interdisciplinary Science Building represents the dedication of all who made this facility possible: our students, faculty, staff, donors, trustees, and community supporters.  To all who have supported this building for Webster’s second century, we are grateful.”

STEAMM is an acronym for “science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and medicine.” Currently, the most popular major among new students at Webster University is biology, a trend that is expected to continue. Studies have concluded the St. Louis region will need more employees with science and technical backgrounds to advance the region’s industry and research strengths.

When completed, the ISB will house the departments of Anthropology and Sociology, Biological Sciences, International Language and Cultures, Nurse Anesthesia, Nursing, Psychology and the Institute of Human Rights. Overall, the ISB will add 25 laboratory classrooms, four dedicated classrooms, a dual computation laboratory/classroom, 51 faculty offices (with six for adjunct faculty), 20 staff offices, and a 129-seat auditorium. There also will be commons areas throughout the building for students and faculty to collaborate and hold study sessions.

“This facility will enhance our ability to provide best educational experiences to our students,” said Julian Schuster, the provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Webster University.

When the ISB was included in the 2012 University’s comprehensive master plan, it was determined then that in order to construct it, Webster University would need a new electrical substation, as the one currently serving Webster Groves was at capacity. That substation was finished at the end of August. Work is underway to connect 16 campus buildings to the substation.

Other needs identified include the expansion of the University’s parking garage to meet future demand. As part of that expansion, the City of Webster Groves required a left-turn lane be added at Edgar Road and Garden Avenue. The road work was finished in August. Plans to expand the garage are underway.

Additionally, in August of 2014, the University installed a new chiller plant in the lower level of the East Academic Building. The chiller will provide back-up cooling for the East Academic Building, ISB and other buildings that are renovated in the future.

Staff members and architects have been meeting with groups of students and faculty members for more than a year. Through this process, the architects determined the optimal designs for each floor, including where to locate classes, labs, storage spaces, offices and study areas for students. Faculty and students asked that specific departments be located near each other to increase collaboration between those departments.

The square footage of the building is expected to be around 85,000 square feet. The building will be directly connected to the East Academic Building at the north end to make the ease of traveling between classes easier for students. When completed, it is estimated it will cost about $33 million.

With its home campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Webster University (www.webster.edu) comprises an action-oriented global network of faculty, staff, students and alumni who forge powerful bonds with each other and with their communities around the globe. Founded in 1915, Webster is a private non-profit university with almost 20,000 students studying at campus locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa and in a robust learning environment online. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

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