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The original item was published from 3/5/2015 9:29:26 AM to 3/10/2015 12:05:01 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: March 5, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Construction starts in April on new $10M Tech building

Montana Tech expects construction to begin in early April on the new $10 million Natural Resources Research Center.

The 32,000-square-foot building will primarily provide research laboratory space for faculty, undergraduates and graduate students.

A feature particular to this new building will be the interior glass walls, designed so visitors will be able to see scientists, both students and faculty, while they work.

Chancellor Don Blackketter said he hopes the transparency will help attract new students.

"The space will be very inviting when we take prospective students through," Blackketter said The Montana Standard this week. "The concept is, you can see what's going on in the labs."

Blackketter also stressed the student design area for projects. This space will give seniors a place to work on their final projects. Currently, no such campus space exists.

The building will also house a machine shop and labs for fluids and dynamics, energy, occupational safety and health, strengths and materials, composite and wood testing and nano.

The nano and occupational safety and health labs are new to the campus, Blackketter said. The others will alleviate crowded lab space.

Funded by the state of Montana and from contributions from Conoco Phillips, Halliburton, and Anadarko, the center features three floors and connects to the Energy Lab Classroom building.

It is also expected to meet state sustainability standards, Martin Byrnes, architect with the project designer CTA Architect Engineers, said at a presentation this week on campus.

The firm is also designing an unfinished area so the building has room to grow.

Work on utilities is set to begin April 1. Construction on the foundation will get underway by mid-April. Sletten Construction Co. is the general contractor.

The construction, expected to be completed in fall 2016, will consume 48 parking spaces in the lot east of the ELC on the Tech campus. To compensate for the loss, 100 parking spaces will be located on the old practice field west of the Alumni Coliseum.

Some faculty and staff parking will be reassigned to the library lot.

Also, construction workers will be transported in and out of campus, so as not to take up parking spaces.

Montana Tech announced in January that the new building was in the works, and also announced at that time the contributions coming from Conoco Phillips, Halliburton and Anadarko.

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