Construction of the new University of Colorado Boulder aerospace engineering building is hitting a major milestone with the installation of the final steel beam.
A formal topping-out ceremony was held Wednesday at the building site on campus. The ceremony follows the Viking tradition of signing the final beam of a newly constructed building before it is installed.
“It was only last October that we came out and dug in with shovels at the groundbreaking,” said Assistant Dean for Programs and Engagement Doug Smith, addressing attendees. “Not even eight months later, look at where we are.”
Participants in the event, including CU Regent Linda Shoemaker, “State Aerospace Champion” Jay Lindell of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, campus officials, faculty, industry representatives, and aerospace supporters were all asked to sign the 25-foot beam, which will be raised into place in the coming days.
Bobby Braun, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science and Smead Space Technology Chair within the aerospace engineering sciences department, said the building will enable new research, accelerate industry collaborations, and accommodate continued growth of the student body.
He noted that aerospace was the first of all of the engineering programs to fill up in the Fall 2018 admissions process, and the incoming freshman class is the department’s most diverse to date.
“We’re celebrating a bright and vibrant future for the university, our students, the state of Colorado, and our nation,” Braun said. “This building signals an increase in our ability to supply talent to the state’s aerospace economy and is an important step forward for our entire college.”
The approximately 176,000 square-foot building will position CU Boulder at the heart of the thriving aerospace ecosystem in Colorado, which is ranked first in the United States in private aerospace employment concentration.
“This new aerospace hub signals our commitment to remaining at the forefront of aerospace-engineering research, education and innovation for the state and the nation,” Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said.
The new building will include an indoor flight environment for testing unmanned aerial systems, as well as a unique roof design that accommodates faculty research and provides lines of sight necessary for activities like satellite tracking. The building will also group together aerospace engineering’s six main research clusters to facilitate greater collaboration between students and faculty, provide world-class learning spaces, and enable new collaborations between aerospace engineering sciences researchers and faculty and staff in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences located next door.
Construction is anticipated to finish in spring 2019, with full occupancy starting in the fall 2019 semester.