Sciences, You’re Coming Home

This entry is part 8 of 28 in the series Fall - 2017
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New sciences buildings host natural science academic units



by Anne Manning

The College of Natural Sciences welcomes thousands of students to its much-anticipated, four-story, 155,000-square-foot Biology Building this fall.

Since arriving at Colorado State University, sophomore honors student Elizabeth Schweinzger has loved majoring in biological science. An aspiring health care professional, the Denver native has immersed herself in a pre-health academic track, started work in a Human Development and Family Studies lab, and was voted secretary of a health professions advising group.

“I’m most excited by the human aspects of biology,” Schweinzger says. “That’s why I enjoyed Life 102 so much – we delved into all the things that happen in the human body, and how they work, step by step, in much more depth than I could have ever imagined.”

The College of Natural Sciences welcomes Schweinzger and thousands of other students to its much-anticipated, four-story, 155,000-square-foot Biology Building this fall. It is those students who have inspired and informed practically every aspect of the $70 million project.

“This building is going to be a destination students actually want to be in, to interact with each other, to gather and study, and to meet with faculty,” says Michael Antolin, chair of the Department of Biology. “All through this process, we have really taken that to heart.”

The LEED-certified Biology Building, which broke ground in 2015, has been a labor of love – and dire need. According to Antolin, initial discussions about a new facility to accommodate the burgeoning Department of Biology began well over 10 years ago.

In 2014, the University Facility Fee Advisory Board, a student-run committee of the Student Fee Review Board, approved the use of about $57 million of student fees to fund a majority of the building’s construction – another campus facility made possible by students, for students.


Alumni and friends who care about the future of the sciences at Colorado State University can help invest in their future. The majority of the buildings’ costs have come from student fees, state funding, and University investment, but there are plenty of additional opportunities to provide much-needed support.

Support the Biology Building

Support the Chemistry Research Building


In the past decade, the department’s enrollment has increased by roughly 30 percent, with no signs of stopping. It now serves about 1,000 biological science majors, 400 zoology majors, and 115 graduate students. In fact, the department has more undergraduate majors than any other in the College of Natural Sciences, and almost two-thirds of all students graduating from CSU will have enrolled in a course taught by the department.

In other words, it’s not just a building for biology and zoology students, Antolin says, but a campus destination for all.

Its state-of-the-art labs and teaching spaces accommodate all the programs currently crammed into the aging Anatomy-Zoology Building, with room for anticipated growth.

The Biology Building also features specialized core facilities, from molecular and cell biology to ecosystem sciences.

“Simply put, we have space for our department,” Antolin says. “Besides the students, we have 300 people show up to work every day. We were crowded in our labs, and in our office spaces. We have places to house people.”

The new building brings the department into the modern era, with flexible labs as well as informal “idea spaces,” where students can congregate, study, or lounge, on every floor. Enclosed by glass that provides plenty of natural light, the structure offers students, faculty, and staff a contemporary, welcoming scientific building that will keep pace with the stellar academic and scholarly pursuits taking place inside. As a current student, Schweinzger looks forward to the opening.

“Other departments have a home,” she says, while biological science and zoology majors are crowded into small classrooms. Many of her introductory classes took place in Clark Hall, because Anatomy-Zoology couldn’t accommodate large classes. “What I am most excited about is that we will have a place as biology students to convene together – and the study rooms sound really, really cool.”


The Biology Building shares the same corner of campus with an equally new and needed Chemistry Research Building, also opening this fall. The $55.4 million, 61,000-square-foot facility provides modern laboratory and research spaces for synthetic chemistry and other key areas. It extends spaces in the Chemistry Building and in Yates Hall, where chemistry is currently housed, and serves as a home for students to learn side by side with faculty.

This new space for the Department of Chemistry allows expanded research opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students, in a collaborative environment marked by open, flowing labs for hood-intensive work.

The Biology and Chemistry Research buildings now mark a south-central gateway to campus and the entrance to CSU’s Science Mall: Yates Hall, Microbiology, Anatomy-Zoology, Environmental Health, Pathology and the Painter Center.

“Our two new buildings are an investment into discovery and excellence in the sciences for many years to come,” says Dean of the College of Natural Sciences Jan Nerger. “We can’t wait to see what’s next.”

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