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Hoisted 40 feet in the air on a construction crane, UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin along with benefactor James Swenson and Stahl Construction Company carpenter Kevin Ryan placed an American flag atop the tallest part of the new Civil Engineering building currently under construction on the campus.
The ritual, called a "Topping off" ceremony, is a long-standing tradition in the building trades---performed in celebration of the completion of the tallest part of a building under construction. The three also signed the building’s uniquely engineered Cyprus wood water scuppers.
Just one year ago (July 11, 2008) UMD held groundbreaking ceremonies for the $15 million building. The state-of-the-art teaching/training center is designed to house the new Bachelor of Science degree program in Civil Engineering which admitted its first freshman students last fall. The structure is the 6th new building to be constructed on the UMD campus since 2000.
The 34,000 gross square foot, two-story building adjoins Voss Kovach Hall (home of the Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering programs) and will house sophisticated, specialized teaching and research laboratories as well as classrooms and administrative offices.
Of the six total laboratories, two will be very large--reaching two-stories high with full glass walls providing “Engineering on Display” from hallways as well as the outside. These “large labs” will showcase to viewers what civil engineers actually do and will provide a whole new look to the North East end of the campus.
One of the “large labs” will feature a large flume (water flow channel) with heavy volumes of water supplied by recycled run-off from the building’s roof scuppers. The second “large lab” will showcase structural engineering with two 15-ton hydraulic cranes lifting large sections of concrete and other structural elements for evaluation and testing. All six laboratories will provide essential hands-on student learning experiences.
Set for completion in time for September 2010 fall classes, the building is designed to be a LEED certified “green building”. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a rating system established by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certification is a rigorous process that evaluates the environmental sustainability of building design, construction and operation.
The Duluth architectural firm SJA (formerly Stanius Johnson) is the lead architect for the project. Carol Ross Barney of Ross Barney Associates of Chicago is the design architect. The two firms also collaborated on the $33 million UMD James I. Swenson Science Building opened in September 2005.
Funding for the building was provided by the Minnesota Legislature which approved a $10 million capital bonding request last year. UMD benefactor and 1959 graduate, James I. Swenson (Swenson Family Foundation) donated $3 million. An additional $2 million was provided by university funds.
Written by Susan Latto
UMD Recent Building Projects Include:
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