St. Thomas has surpassed a fundraising milestone to bring a planned $100 million facility that will help prepare students for the future workforce a step closer to reality.
Officials today announced the university has passed the halfway point in fundraising toward construction of the state-of-the-art Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) complex on south campus. The new complex aims to increase collaboration between students from multiple disciplines across the university – everything from arts and sciences to engineering fields – to focus on human, digital and technical literacy.
The university announced it also has hired a programming and design team (BWBR and RAMSA), a construction firm (McGough) and established a steering committee of trustees, campus leaders and industry partners. Assuming fundraising goals are achieved, St. Thomas anticipates breaking ground on the new complex in spring 2022 with an opening target date of fall 2024.
“Our goal for this complex is to prepare our students for the jobs of today – and tomorrow – by providing experiences that employers value,” said President Julie Sullivan. “The best way to do that is by breaking down silos, focusing on collaborative, interdisciplinary education and incorporating diverse viewpoints. In doing this, we’re aiming to attract top-talent students and faculty with a state-of-the-art learning facility and engage in improving diversity by supporting women and people of color in STEAM fields.”
St. Thomas will next move toward co-developing the complex and its programs with employers and other partners. Specifically, the university will host co-design sessions with executives from top recruiting firms and seek input from students and employees. The university has also begun conversations with the St. Paul community on how this complex might be used as a community resource and to gather feedback on proposed designs, which could impact the future of historic Loras Hall.
The STEAM complex fundraising is the latest in a string of announcements that will reshape the future of the university. It comes as St. Thomas continues important work to safely reopen campus for classes this fall, accelerate efforts to achieve racial justice, open new residence halls and the Iversen Center for Faith, and prepare to transition to D-I athletics.
In her State of the University address in February, Sullivan said the new complex “will infuse innovation and entrepreneurship into collaborative workspaces for students from multiple disciplines to work with each other and the community on problems that matter” and reinforced how the new complex accelerates momentum toward being widely recognized as the preferred partner of choice and a forward-thinking, premier Catholic institution.