Discovery Learning Center To House New Space Experiments Institute

Published: April 27, 2000

Facilities for the assembly and test of space flight experiments and hardware -- in addition to other leading edge research -- will get a boost with the construction of the new Discovery Learning Center by CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The college will break ground on the new research and learning laboratory on May 12 at 2 p.m., following spring commencement.

Former astronaut Ron Sega will be among the speakers at the ceremony, which will be held on the east side of the Engineering Center at the corner of Colorado Avenue and Regent Drive. U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard and U.S. Rep. Mark Udall also are scheduled speakers.

The $15.3 million building, which is funded through a partnership between the state of Colorado and private donors, will include 7,500 square feet devoted to space-related research and activities, or almost 35 percent of the building’s assignable space.

A joint Space Experiments Institute will house as many as eight teams working at various times on assembly and testing of space flight experiments. Examples include biological, pharmaceutical and bioengineering projects led by BioServe Space Technologies and development of structures for the International Space Station by the Precision Deployable Space Structures team of the Center for Aerospace Structures. Both research centers are housed in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences.

The Space Experiments Institute will be located adjacent to the Colorado Space Grant Consortium on the top floor of the Discovery Learning Center. The Space Grant Consortium is a statewide program headquartered at CU-Boulder enabling students to design and develop their own payloads and spacecraft. The co-location of the programs will allow them to share a clean room and mission control center.

Other initial tenants selected to occupy the Discovery Learning Center include the Biotechnology/Biomaterials Discovery Laboratory, the Center for Drinking Water Optimization and several research centers focusing on aspects of information technology. The building also will include a significant amount of shared space for features such as a videoconferencing room, media wall and team meeting rooms.

The Discovery Learning Center is part of a college-wide initiative making research more accessible to students at all levels. In the DLC, undergraduate and graduate students will work on teams with faculty and industry partners to solve current research problems.

Like the college’s Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, which set the standard for interdisciplinary, hands-on learning in 1997, the DLC is pioneering a new educational paradigm – the deep integration of undergraduates into the college’s research mission.

Designed by Klipp Colussy Jenks DuBois Architects, the center is expected to open in fall 2001.