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Thursday, March 23, 2023

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Front of EIS Complex. Front of EIS Complex.

Breaking Ground on the Innovation Complex

Construction begins on SDSU's Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex.
By Natalia Elko

Construction officially began today on San Diego State University's newest building which will be a hotspot for collaborations between engineers and biologists, climatologists and entrepreneurs.

The $90 million Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex is a key piece in SDSU’s drive to become a top-50 public research university.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, SDSU administrators, students and donors in hard hats ceremoniously broke ground at the future site of the complex, located between the engineering and physics buildings on the north side of campus. After a vapor jet release, groundbreaking participants displayed shovels spelling out “C-O-L-L-A-B-O-R-A-T-I-O-N,” paying tribute to the building’s charge.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman spoke to the impact of the building at the ceremony, “Today, we celebrate a beginning; a beginning of greater educational opportunities for our students in engineering and the sciences; a beginning of a campus quadrangle that will be a crossroads of engineering and the sciences on our campus; a beginning of opportunities for even greater collaboration among engineering, the sciences and our entrepreneurship centers — collaborations that will lead to research discoveries and the development of new technologies.”

The five-story complex — scheduled for completion in 2018 — will enhance the university’s teaching and research capacities and help attract the best and brightest faculty researchers as well as graduate and undergraduate students. It will also house an entrepreneurship innovation center for students to team up, dream up, create and market their discoveries.

More than 200 people attended the event including donors, government officials, construction partners and community members.

Collaboration creates innovation

The complex will reflect the university’s legacy style — California Mission Revival — with a modern twist. The 85,000-square-foot building will fit seamlessly with campus architecture but will have durable, cost-effective painted cement in place of large adobe blocks, white exteriors, regularly spaced small windows, tile roofs and modest decorative elements.

Meanwhile, the scientists and engineers in the new complex will be focused on the future. The interior will have much more instructional, laboratory and collaborative space than the current Engineering and Industrial Technology buildings. There will be 11,500 square feet of instructional space with 17 cutting edge labs that include state-of-the-art scientific and industrial machines and a modular setup, allowing scientists and engineers to easily relocate their resources to be closer to potential collaborators.

Outside will be the Thomas B. Day Quad, named to honor SDSU’s sixth president who pushed SDSU to become a full-fledged research institution. It will be filled with gardens and seating, providing space for students and researchers to discuss their latest projects.

To encourage and cultivate novel innovations that emerge when scientists and engineers work together, the complex will house the William E. Leonhard Entrepreneurship Center, an umbrella for the Zahn Innovation Center and Lavin Entrepreneurship Center. The space will help student entrepreneurs work to bring their products to market.

As with the Aztec Student Union, the complex’s design-build team, which includes Clark Construction, AC Martin Architect and RFD Lab Planning, are also keeping environmental concerns in mind and the university will seek LEED Certification for the building.

The Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex is being funded by a combination of private funds, state funds and university reserves. For more information or to support the project please visit the EIS web site.

Related: SDSU Angling to Become Elite Research University - San Diego Union-Tribune


Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex
Renderings of the new EIS Complex at SDSU.