How should a new aerospace building at CU Boulder look? What kind of lab space is needed? How big should the classrooms be? Campus officials are working to answer exactly those question as they draw up designs for the proposed structure.
Earlier this year, CU Boulder publicly announced a push to construct a dedicated building for aerospace on campus, and things have moved quickly since then.
An architectural firm was hired in June and began meeting with professors and administrators to discuss their needs for lab spaces, classrooms, and overall design for the structure.
"Faculty are plugged in. They’re really engaged," says assistant dean for programs and engagement Doug Smith.
The University Design Review Board recently approved the proposed location and general property design. The building will be approximately 139,000 square feet, and will be located on the university's East Campus, which is already home to significant research connected to AES.
“We’ll be joining LASP, astrophysics, and atmospheric sciences on East Campus. It’s going to create a clear focal point at CU Boulder for aero and space activities,” says Penina Axelrad, chair of aerospace engineering sciences.
The current design services are being funded by the university, but the actual construction will require support from the private sector and the state legislature. If requests for funding are successful, groundbreaking could be next fall, with construction taking about 18-20 months, and wrapping up in the spring of 2019.
"Aerospace would finish the 2019 school year in the Engineering Center and then move during the summer," Smith says.
With rooms in the Engineering Center constantly at a premium, other departments are already eagerly eyeing the space. Thankfully, with a brand-new building in the works, the only space AES will have to worry about is the interstellar kind.