Plans for site of new STEM building change

Landeros says increased costs drive relocation


Ashlynn Bakemeyer

During E period on Aug. 29, students gather in the courtyard, part of which adjacent to Kelly Hall will be the site of the new STEM building/Innovation Center.

Ashlynn Bakemeyer , Reporter

Plans are always subject to change, which is exactly what happened with the original STEM building layout.

Chief Operating Officer Mr. Rolly Landeros said the initial location of the STEM building, also referred to as the Innovation Center, set to open in the fall of 2021, was adjacent to the Shiel Student Life Center. Now, it is fixed to be beside Kelly Hall next to the courtyard sidewalk.

Landeros said the reasons for the location change came down to cost. “The price, compared to what it was four years ago, has gone up. Because of that change in cost per square foot, we had to be more creative on how we’re really going to utilize this space.” Landeros said. 

He added that there was a significance behind the STEM building’s placement. The building was relocated to be alongside Kelly Hall so as to keep the science and math departments together with the STEM facility. 

“The emphasis on STEM is to provide (students and teachers) with the space that is designed for engineering, programming and even possibly robotics. The current classrooms are not designed for those types of learning abilities. It allows the teachers and students the creativity they need to begin that innovation thought.”

Teachers and students can both apply their “innovation thought” into helping with the construction and design process.

Landeros noted, “We are going to have leadership meetings, department meetings and teacher meetings. We are also going to have students panels that will be a part of this.”

Landeros said that a new cafeteria in B basement will be a result of the construction process and the student panels will get to have input on ideas for the old cafeteria. He said there are many exciting possibilities for the new space such as using it as an athletic training facility for dance, yoga or fitness.

Another outcome from the construction is a redesigned courtyard. Landeros said, “The building will go up to where the sidewalk is at. The main part of the courtyard will remain intact.”

Traffic and parking will be affected as well. Landeros said students will have to learn how to navigate from classroom to classroom during construction.

Even with the STEM building changing location, Landeros said, “This new building will be the core of student life. There is going to be a lot of exciting discussions and students will be part of those discussions.”