Geology building nears completion

By Allison Johnson, Staff Writer

When the Frederick Albert Sutton Building is unveiled in April 2009, the geology and geophysics department will have a new home.

The new geology and geophysics building is under construction and is nearing completion. Marjorie Chan, dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences, said construction is ahead of schedule.

The building will include many upgraded classrooms and state-of-the-art labs.

Chan said she believes the opening of the Sutton building will mean great things for the department and the U.

“The building will have a big impact on our department as it will take us into the next century,” she said. “We are definitely excited to have this opportunity to have the new space that tells our story and shares our science with the rest of campus and the community.”

The Sutton building is one of the “green” buildings on campus and is designed to minimize impact on the environment, reduce the use of energy and lower costs for building materials and systems, Chan said.

U students have also played a major role in making sure the new building is environmentally friendly. During Spring Semester 2006, 25 undergraduate and graduate students collaborated with their professors and developed several projects that would enhance the design of the new building to make it more sustainable.

The completed projects include an energy and water monitoring system, a storm water infiltration system, skylights and a green roof to increase energy efficiency.

Geology and geophysics professor William Johnson helped students work on the building’s design and said he is excited that the department received enough donations to implement some of the features.

“Three of the projects are definitely being implemented via funds from private and corporate sponsors,” he said. “The fourth project, the green roof, is still looking for a donor.”

Construction of the $26 million building has been funded completely by private donors and has required no state funding.

The department has relied heavily on donors not only for money, but for materials as well. The slate stone for the lobby floor and display cases throughout the building, among other materials, has been donated by companies including DalTile and Contempo Tile.

“We appreciate the support that shows community interest and involvement,” Chan said.

Chan said she expects to hold a grand opening for the building April 17, 2009. Classes would start in the building the following summer.

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Anna Kartashova

Construction on the new geology and geophysics building is set to be finished April of 2009. The new ?green? building has been upgraded with several new classrooms and state-of-the-art-labs.