Published: July 17, 2017 By

Ground floor of new wing.

Click the image for a behind-the-scenes photo tour of the construction progress.

Last month a collective cheer went up from CU Engineering when the Board of Regents approved a new state-of-the-art aerospace engineering building on East Campus.

But did you know they gave us a second reason to cheer that day?

On June 15, the regents approved $10.9 million in funding to finish the fifth wing of the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, a boon to our chemical and biological engineering department, which shares the space.

The plan was to leave much of the new wing shelled – structurally complete but not ready to occupy.

Instead, construction crews from Adolfson & Peterson will remain on site to complete the entire interior, which includes two academic classrooms, two conference rooms, research labs and offices. The space is shared by the BioFrontiers Institute, the Division of Biochemistry and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, which is slated to occupy the ground floor of the new wing.

Lee Silbert, director of operations and finance for JSCBB, said he’s excited that the structure can be fully finished, since the space is in high demand.

“Construction costs are going up so quickly that delaying it any amount of time is guaranteeing it becoming more and more expensive,” Silbert added.

The entire structure is expected to be complete by March 2018, he said. The top floor will be finished even earlier, allowing industry-related startups and small businesses to temporarily rent that space this fall. Those partnerships tie in to the building’s mission, he said – to have students, faculty and industry commingling with the chance for creative collisions.

The Colorado Avenue building opened in 2012, and construction of the new wing began in February 2016. The project has been on schedule and on budget so far, Silbert said. Workers added landscaping a few weeks ago, and a public art installation will go up in the west courtyard in just a few weeks.

At nearly 400,000 square feet, the biotech building is among the largest structures in Boulder.

Kellen Short is a communications specialist in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.