The new Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex (SEEC) at the University of Colorado Boulder is now open. After many years of hard work by scores of people, the university held an official dedication ceremony on April 14 for the $114 million scientific collaboration center, which will position CU as a global hub for environmental, energy and sustainability research.
Several CU dignitaries and donors spoke at the ceremony.
“SEEC establishes CU-Boulder as the epicenter for environmental sciences and geosciences research nationally and perhaps worldwide,” said CU Provost Russ Moore. “The opportunity for our students is going to be incredible.”
Chancellor Philip DiStefano concurred, “SEEC offers a new gateway to the university, welcoming the community for public talks, artist exhibits, educational outreach and department centers.”
Bob Sievers, a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry and one of the major donors to the project, said, “Sustainability is about reduction of stress, reduction of pain. It is the future of our world. We are on a new journey.”
SEEC consists of two buildings: a brand-new 115,000-square-foot, LEED-certified laboratory building with state-of-the-art analytical instruments and synthesis capabilities and an adjoining refurbished 289,000-square-foot educational facility designed for departmental centers, teaching, programs, collaborative work and community outreach. The complex is located on East Campus, near the northwest corner of Foothills Parkway and Colorado Avenue.
SEEC was designed as a collaborative space to bring together the best minds in the world to tackle problems related to sustainability, energy and the environment.
“Our world is facing significant issues with the changing environment, increasing populations and limited resources,” DiStefano said. “The intersection of people, resources and our planet is where CU-Boulder can use its expertise to address the world’s most pressing problems.”
“The new building is a spectacular instantiation of what that kind of innovative, interdisciplinary, forward-thinking work can represent and produce,” said John Stevenson, dean of the Graduate School. “This building is crucial for the future of the planet. We have done enormous damage to it in the name of progress. A place like this will change the way the world thinks about its own future.”
“SEEC has been a long and evolutionary process,” said Jim White, director of the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), who was an integral part of the planning process. “What began as a single building in the Grandview area of campus for environmental studies has become two buildings” that will house many researchers from many different disciplines and agencies.
Some of the entities that will be collaborating at SEEC include:
Vice Chancellor for Research Terri Fiez remarked, “We are excited about the future research in education in the energy and environment. Our partners are key to that. We see this as an opportunity to deepen these relationships. When that all comes together, it will change the way we do what we’ve done traditionally at CU. That’s what this building is really about is transforming the opportunities.”
The CU administration emphasized that the facilities were created without financial help from the state. DiStefano said, “It’s notable that SEEC had no state funding whatsoever. We did this on our own. It was totally funded by the university and our donors who believe in what we can accomplish.”
“The state has difficulty with capital construction funds, but it doesn’t stop us from taking the lead to do things in the areas of sustainability, the environment and energy,” DiStefano remarked.
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Laura Kriho is web and publications coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences.