A proposed science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Innovation Learning Center, to be located in the Science and Engineering Library building at Wayne State University in Detroit, has advanced to the planning phase after receiving funding approval by the State of Michigan. The state has committed $14.8 million toward the project, which is estimated to represent about 50 percent of the total completion costs.
Earlier this year, WSU submitted its top priority Five Year Capital Outlay Plan, which included the renovation and repurposing of the vacant Science and Engineering Library building into an instructional learning environment for undergraduate STEM students. The university was among 10 community colleges and universities approved to proceed with the planning phases of their projects statewide.
“The STEM Innovation Learning Center will provide significant benefits to both the university and the State of Michigan,” says M. Roy Wilson, WSU president. “Our students and faculty will use the renovated facility to pursue STEM education, research, and careers, while the state will benefit through their investment in workforce development to meet future talent demands that will keep Michigan competitive and growing
When completed, the project will transform 100,000 square feet of space into STEM learning facilities. The STEM Innovation Learning Center will include flexible classrooms, seminar spaces, offices, and instructional labs that are technology-focused and support hands-on and project-based learning. The facility will also have maker-hacker labs that offer students interdisciplinary exposure to skill set development outside of instructional settings.
The project will provide undergraduate instructional labs and support spaces for the 25 foundational STEM courses in biology, chemistry, math, and physics, which will continue to undergo development through the efforts of a National Science Foundation grant titled Student Success Through Evidence-based Pedagogies.
The project will also provide opportunities to expose Detroit-area K-12 students to interactive, creative learning situations to increase their interest in STEM careers.
The center is expected to be completed by fall semester 2020.