Wayne State University, a public research university in Detroit, MI, realized an opportunity, and a need, to create a hub for interdisciplinary teaching, learning and innovation for undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students. The project is a State of Michigan Capital Outlay Project, meaning a portion of the $47.5M USD project will be funded by the state. With government funding to support the initiative, the vision is to create an enhanced instructional environment that will invest in workforce development to meet future technical talent demands.
NORR worked in close collaboration with Wayne State students and faculty to design a next-generation facility in its vacant 116,457 square-foot Science and Engineering Library building at the midtown campus. The program elements are fully integrated and include:
- Classroom laboratory spaces that provide interdisciplinary learning environments such as active learning spaces, technology-rich scientific and computer laboratories and seminar spaces
- Innovation labs, which will give students interdisciplinary exposure to skill set development that are not possible in most instructional settings
- Hackerspace/Makerspaces that allow common interest gathering for computer science students who are involved with coding, gaming, 3D graphics, etc., collaborating with other technical type students.
- Collaboration or “third” spaces where students can gather before and after class, to study, continue interdisciplinary discussion or have a conversation with their faculty instructor
- Dedicated classroom and office space for a specific department to provide building-wide coordination and oversight
The project is targeting LEED® Silver rating. Through architecture, engineering and construction, the design supports materials and systems that provide current and long-term operational efficiencies. With an expected completion date in Summer 2020, the design will transform the former underutilized building to an enhanced purpose that supports education, research and careers, with the objective of putting graduating students at the forefront of technological advances and scientific discoveries in the STEM-based workforce.