University of North Dakota Campus Sees Construction Boom

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The University of North Dakota has experienced substantial growth and change in recent months with the construction and completion of a number of new buildings across multiple departments.

In November 2015, the university cut the ribbon on the $19.5 million High Performance Center. Randy Magill, associate athletics director and chief financial officer for University of North Dakota athletics, told the Grand Forks Herald that the high tech track featured in the facility is the only 300-meter track in the United States and has the technologically advanced Mondo surface. The High Performance Center may even continue to grow, as officials have already asked the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education for approval to begin fundraising for the addition of locker rooms, an administrative area, and training and educational space, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

Another addition to the campus will be a $15.5 million expansion to the existing College of Engineering and Mines, creating the new 37,000-square-foot Collaborative Energy Complex. According the Grand Forks Herald, University of North Dakota College of Engineering and Mines Dean Hesham El-Rewini said the project is on time and is within budget. The Collaborative Energy Complex will connect several campus buildings and will be externally complete by fall 2016. Lab equipment will be installed and the building should be open no later than the spring 2017 semester. Work began on the project in July 2015.

"More than just a building to house programs, CEC is about people, about collaboration, about innovation, and about building bridges with industry. It will provide students and faculty with a place to interact with each other as well as with colleagues from other colleges on campus and with industry," El-Rewini said in a statement. "CEC will provide our students and researchers with access to cutting edge laboratories and equipment. Students’ educational experience will be enriched through industry interactions, personalized mentorship, professional development opportunities, and outreach activities.”

Although the Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library, which contains numerous geological samples, is owned by the North Dakota Geological Survey and not the University of North Dakota, it is also undergoing upgrades and an expansion. The building will expand into a 160-spot parking lot adjacent to the Collaborative Energy Complex and will eventually connect via skyway to Leonard Hall. Library Director Julie LeFever told the Grand Forks Herald that the project is set to be complete in September 2016. With the addition of a two-story building, the current 15,000-square-foot library will soon contain three times the previous amount of storage space.

Additionally, a 66,000-square-foot aerospace research building is scheduled for major completion in May 2016. Construction on the facility, Robin Hall, is estimated at $22 million. Currently, the majority of the building is enclosed and some windows have been installed. Additional interior work and furnishings will be completed during over the summer of 2016, according to the Grand Forks Herald. The school broke ground on the project in October 2014. Prior to that, the most recent department expansion occurred in 1991.

Finally, exterior work on a $124 million, four-story facility for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences is nearly complete and construction has primarily moved inside the facility. Spokeswoman for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Jessica Sobolik told the Grand Forks Herald that the 325,000-square-foot project is on time as well as on budget and is scheduled to be complete in May. Work began on the facility, which will for the first time bring all related departments under one roof, in June 2014.