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Sunday, December 10, 2023

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Christopher Sullivan, Sundt Construction, speaks during at SDSU Imperial Valley Rodney Auditorium during a listening session with the public. Christopher Sullivan, Sundt Construction, speaks during at SDSU Imperial Valley Rodney Auditorium during a listening session with the public.

SDSU Imperial Valley, Partners Host Community Outreach Event and Listening Session on Brawley STEM Building

Held on Feb. 28 at SDSU Imperial Valley, the event served as an opportunity to provide updates on the ongoing work behind the new STEM building in Brawley.
By Daniella Rodiles

Leaders from San Diego State University, Sundt and AC Martin gathered the Imperial County community for a listening session on Feb. 28 about SDSU Imperial Valley’s Brawley STEM building, designed to foster technical innovation and economic development opportunities.

Guillermina Gina Nunez-Mchiri, dean of SDSU Imperial Valley, provided updates surrounding plans for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) development, which includes state-of-the-art teaching spaces and core research facilities. 

“Our goal is to educate the future engineers, nurses, educators and leaders of our state and country, and that implies to dream big,” Nunez-Mchiri said during her presentation at SDSU Imperial Valley Rodney Auditorium. “By establishing STEM careers, we’re boosting our local workforce and economy. It is our duty to create a space for students to establish their careers in Imperial Valley and expose them to the vast opportunities that the Lithium Valley plan will present.”

With student success at the forefront, the new Brawley facility will hold a STEM Innovation Hub for students and faculty to collaborate with one another, while also incorporating a design that speaks to the culture and identity of the surrounding Valley community.

Additionally, sustainable materials and designs, such as LEED Gold certified materials, wind and sun-sheltered outdoor spaces, photovoltaic panels and native, drought-tolerant landscaping will bring the development to life.

“Lithium presents a transformative opportunity to this region,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “Local degree opportunities directly tied to industry needs are critical and will ensure that the economic benefits come to the people of Imperial Valley first and foremost. That is our commitment and our north star. We are so glad to host the Imperial Valley community at today’s listening session because their voices are vital in shaping this SDSU expansion.”

Following a formal presentation, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about the ongoing project. The listening session concluded with a musical performance from SDSU’s College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts symphonic orchestra, directed by School of Music and Dance instructors Shannon Kitelinger and Michael Gerdes.

The STEM building development comes as a response to Imperial County’s Lithium Valley proposal; one that has received both federal and state-level financial investments. SDSU Imperial Valley, its Brawley campus and community leaders are collaborating on a dramatic expansion in STEM education and research, connecting to the state's major economic development plans. 

Sundt Construction, whose portfolio includes numerous higher education and research facility projects, and AC Martin, a California-based architecture firm, were selected to build the SDSU Imperial Valley Brawley STEM campus. The project was made possible by $80 million from the state budget signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last summer.

The STEM building is expected to open in fall 2025.