RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Commonwealth University officially unveiled the school’s expansive new STEM building this week, a project that cost $125 million and has been in the works for years.
The university held a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26, to mark the completion of the six-floor, 168,000-square-foot building at the site of the former Franklin Street Gym at 817 W. Franklin Street.
The new building promises new classrooms and lab study space for more than 10,000 students taking up 70 courses every semester. This will include the following features:
– Thirty-two teaching labs
– A facility for math instruction called “The Math Exchange”
– A space for student and faculty interaction called “Science Hub”
– Specialized support for STEM classes, including study groups
– Two 250-seat classrooms
– Computer labs
– Large and small-capacity flexible classrooms
– Instructional wet and dry labs
In total, this expansive project cost approximately $125 million to complete. However, VCU said that the building was funded entirely by money given to the state in 2019 and did not use students’ tuition or fees.
When the building opens its doors to students in the fall, it will serve thousands of Rams. According to the university, nearly 60% of VCU undergraduate students are enrolled in the College of Humanities and Sciences across 17 departments, two schools and three programs.
Dr. Michael Rao, president of VCU and VCU Health, is hopeful that the new facility will not only give current STEM students a solid education but will benefit the state going forward.
“At VCU, we pride ourselves on making education and research more accessible to all students,” Rao said. “Modern facilities thoughtfully designed to support learning and innovation will foster our ability to shape Virginia, its robust economy and the well-being of people everywhere.”