Saint Louis University Investing Nearly $80 Million in STEM Education Spaces of the Future
Saint Louis University recently has invested $78.8 million to enhance STEM facilities as it continues to see a surge in students pursuing science, engineering, math and health science degrees.
Currently under construction is a new $50 million Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building that will open in 2020. The 90,000-square-foot facility will feature:
- Innovative teaching spaces and flexible labs
- An active learning classroom that can hold up to 210 students
- A research computing and data visualization support center
In addition, the University this year completed an extensive $28.8 million renovation of Macelwane Hall, which houses SLU’s biology programs and teaching labs for chemistry.
The renovated building places an emphasis on experiential learning, with updated classrooms and state-of-the-art teaching and research labs.
“SLU is committed to providing students with leading-edge facilities where they can engage in experiential education and gain the skills they need to succeed in the high-demand jobs of the future,” said Saint Louis University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.
“This immersive learning environment, built on the foundation of our Jesuit, liberal-arts tradition, ensures that our graduates are as dynamic as they are brilliant,” Pestello continued.
Preparing for Future Careers
The University also is investing in career services, industry partnerships and hands-on learning as part of a renewed focus on student success.
“The expectations of students and their families are changing, and we are adapting to meet their needs and the expectations of their future employers,” Pestello said.
With this in mind, SLU created a new leadership position to oversee the expansion of SLU’s career services programs. In August, a new career services suite will open in remodeled space in Griesedieck Hall, giving the student support effort greater visibility on campus.
Our region is flourishing with job prospects for those who can imagine an exciting and innovative future – inventors, creators of new technologies and entrepreneurs. Something special and significant is happening in St. Louis, and Saint Louis University is right in the middle of it.”Fred Pestello, Ph.D, President of Saint Louis University
The changes to career services are linked to the University’s strategic plan, which says SLU “will be celebrated as an entrepreneurial organization devoted to the pursuit of truth and a rigorous, values-based Jesuit education that superbly prepares our students for meaningful lives and successful careers.” Key priorities include:
- Enhancing career planning, preparation and employment
- Enhancing internships and other career-oriented experiential learning programs
- Growing and enhancing SLU’s relations with community organizations and industry
- Bringing greater campus and community visibility to the value of SLU’s distinctive academic programs
St. Louis’ Bright Future
And one of those future employers could be in St. Louis. Fast becoming a leading hub for entrepreneurship and technology, the city is in the midst of a renaissance fueled by $8 billion of investment, including $1 billion around SLU’s campus.
Cortex, the region’s largest innovation district, is thriving, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is building a new $1.7 billion western headquarters expected to bring thousands of new jobs to the region.
Geospatial is quickly emerging as an area of excellence for SLU – one bolstered last year by a historic $50 million gift for research. As the first local university to partner with the NGA, SLU is poised to offer its students and faculty unprecedented learning and research opportunities.
“Our region is flourishing with job prospects for those who can imagine an exciting and innovative future – inventors, creators of new technologies and entrepreneurs,” Pestello said. “Something special and significant is happening in St. Louis, and Saint Louis University is right in the middle of it.”
Other Investments in Student Spaces
The new and renovated STEM facilities follow SLU’s investment of $116 million to construct two new residence halls for first-and second-year students.
In 2016, more than 450 students moved into Spring Hall, a $44 million, eight-story residence hall. In addition to single and double suite-style rooms, Spring Hall has a chapel, outdoor amphitheater, classrooms, a conference rooms, study rooms and a living room with a kitchen.
A year later, the $72 million Grand Hall opened to house nearly 550 freshmen and sophomores in single and double suite-style rooms. The new residence hall is home to the Engineering and Innovation learning community, one of nine campus learning communities where students connect with others who share their interests to build relationships.
Just two years ago, SLU opened it Academic Technology Commons, a 14,000 square-foot creator space that features 3D printers, 360 cameras, recording studios and hologram technology.