USU breaks ground on new Life Sciences Building

LOGAN – The rain let up just in time for the groundbreaking ceremony of Utah State University’s new Life Sciences Building Tuesday afternoon. The 103,000 square-foot structure will be erected on the site of the old Peterson Agricultural Building and will provide much needed research and education space to a campus with overcrowded and outdated laboratories.

During USU President Noelle Cockett’s remarks, she thanked the Utah State Legislature, the Governor’s Office and other civic and business leaders who have supported the building. She said it is the first groundbreaking for a Life Science building on USU’s campus since the early 1960s, when the Biology and Natural Resource Building was constructed.

This new building is expected to be complete fall 2018.

“It is time for students to receive instruction in a building that reflects the science of today and tomorrow,” Cockett said.

The building will feature five levels, 13 teaching laboratories, study spaces and a lecture hall. It will also house the school’s biology department. College of Science Dean Maura Hagan said those who conceived the building wanted a space that facilitates student and faculty interactions.

“Research has shown us that these interactions are where real meaningful learning occurs,” she said. “So many building and labs can be dark and isolating, which is why we asked the architects to design a building with ample glass to showcase light and the outside environment and to afford us the opportunity to put science on display in our campus.”

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Cockett said the building’s positive impact will be recognized for decades.

“The building will make USU a magnet for the most exceptional undergraduates, graduate students and faculty in life sciences,” she said. “The planned technological capabilities will allow us to extend a life science education to regional campuses, many of which serve Utah’s rural communities.”

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Cockett is hoping the building will become “a second home” to aspiring life scientists. She recognized former College of Science Dean Jim MacMahon who initiated the project and recognized State Senator Lyle Hillyard’s support as “a major reason” it is being built. During Hillyard’s remarks he congratulated the university and said he knows it will have a big impact on the students.

“It will literally change the world,” he said. “So I’m glad to be a part of that.”

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