Five years after the building’s frame was completed, the Interdisciplinary Science Building is starting to fill in. ISB is undergoing construction to finish its basement, second floor and part of the fourth floor.  

The $3.28 million project is funded by overheads from grants awarded for research on campus, said associate Vice President of Administration and Finance Rosi Keller. With every research grant, money is awarded to the institution for future development of research space.

“It’s all for ongoing research they don’t have space for,” said Jameel Chaudhry, UM’s campus architect. “These state-of-the-art labs allow researchers to do the work that generates grant funding.”

The construction is expected to be complete in mid-December, Chaudhry said. Once complete, space in the basement and second floor will be devoted to biological science labs.

The basement will include an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant lab, which will be used by undergraduate students for general education purposes, said Stephen Sprang, the director for the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics.

Another basement lab will centralize equipment scattered across campus, including tools to measure the mass of sample molecules using electrons, create images, and perform live cell imaging — a technique that combines time-lapse photography and microscopes to study living cells. 

“Centralizing all of it will help promote communication between faculty working in these areas, their students and post-docs,” Sprang said.

The researchers will study developmental biology in cells, the herpes virus and molecular neurophysiology.

Finished construction on the fourth floor will provide researchers Jesse Johnson and Joel Harper with a dedicated space to conduct their NASA funded research on the mechanics of how glaciers and ice sheets move.

Harper is an associate professor of geosciences working out of the Clapp Building, and Johnson is a computer science professor based in the Social Science Building on the other side of campus. The research team comprised of Harper, Johnson is a computer science professor based in the Social Science Building on the other side of campus. The research team comprised of Harper, Johnson, and their students and postdoctoral researchers usually meets about once a week to discuss their research, but will soon be located under the same roof.

Harper and Johnson’s new space will have sufficient room to stage materials for their six-week research trips to Greenland each summer. Harper said there is also space that he hopes to fill with a walk-in cold room, to store samples.

“As silly as it might seem that being on the other side of campus matters,” Harper said. “It does matter.”

But until construction is finished, students and faculty will have to adapt to the noise.

“Every once in awhile it gets pretty loud in there,” said C.J. Weisbrod, a sophomore taking a human geosciences class in the ISB lecture hall.

Chaudhry said this construction was designed to have the lowest possible impact on students and campus activities.

Weisbrod’s classmate, Kyla O’Brien, said the noise was pretty bad during the first week of school, but she doesn’t notice it much anymore.

As construction continues the loudest work will taper off, and Chaudhry hopes for a fairly low noise impact within the next few weeks.

Chaudhry said the next on-campus construction will take place in the Payne Family Native American Center basement and he expects it to begin in October.                  



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