UMD Celebrates Topping Off New Building on Campus

Ryan Juntti
November 15, 2017 10:28 AM

DULUTH - The University of Minnesota Duluth celebrated a big step forward for its newest building on campus. The final beam was placed on the Heikkila Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building on Tuesday.

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The school broke ground on the building back in July.

"About four months later we're topping the building off, so it really talks about the progress we've made in the construction," said Lynne Williams, UMD Director of Marketing & Public Relations. 

It is a $42 million project, with $28 million being funded by the state and the remaining $14 million coming from UMD. Kurt and Beth Heikkila contributed an undisclosed amount to help with UMD's portion.

"We're really excited we have a lead donor, a lead gift on the project. Kurt and Beth Heikkila are very generous and supportive of UMD," said Williams.

The Heikkilas declined to talk about their donation, but they and family members were among those who signed the final beam before it was placed on top of the building.    

Williams says the new building will replace the oldest building on campus.

School officials say the Swenson College of Science and Engineering gained space with the building, and is able to grow its enrollment. The building will have "upgraded and modernized" chemistry labs, and will house the newly created Advanced Materials Center, according to school officials.

"Our current chemistry labs are probably worse than the labs they (students) had in their high schools," said Williams.  

Robert Carlson, UMD Director of Advanced Materials Center, says the building will also help bring together scientific research and the real world.

"This building and the program associated with advanced materials is very important as a way of integrating what is happening in science as well as with engineering," said Carlson.        

The building is scheduled to be finished by January 2019, with the first classes in it expected in the fall of 2019.              


Ryan Juntti

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