Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn Board of Trustees approves construction of new STEM and agriculture complex

Board of Trustees meeting on April 12
Board of Trustees meeting on April 12

On Friday, the Auburn University Board of Trustees granted final approval for the construction of a new science, technology, engineering, mathematics and agricultural academic building complex. 

Initially approved on Sept. 20, 2020, the project will consist of three buildings totaling 265,000 sq. ft. to replace existing spaces no longer suitable for use as the University moves forward with its campaign to modernize and upgrade facilities across its flagship campus.

The facility will provide future students and educators with state-of-the-art wet and dry research labs, principal investigator offices, collaborative spaces, shared lab support spaces and instructional labs for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Department of Geosciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology and Department of Horticulture. 

Expected to cost approximately $200 million, the complex will be funded through a combination of $50 million in Public School and College Authority funds, which the University does not have to pay back to the state, $21 million in college reserves and gifts and $129 million in University bond funding.

During a previous meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the selection of Goodwin Mills Cawood of Birmingham, Alabama, and Lord Aeck Sargent of Atlanta to serve as the project architectural team.

Based on the current timeline, which is subject to change dependent on material procurement, weather and other unforeseen circumstances, construction is expected to begin during the summer 2023 semester with a targeted completion date by the end of the fall 2025 semester. 

It is expected that occupancy of the building will begin in the spring 2026 semester.

In addition to the construction cost, it was determined that the annual operating cost of the new complex will run an estimated $2.1 million per year. That cost would include utilities, custodial services, trash collection, elevator maintenance and both routine and preventative maintenance.

The three buildings are to be located along West Samford Avenue, adjacent to the Garden of Memory and on the site where the now-demolished Hill Residential Hall complex previously sat, as part of the University’s larger master plan.

Currently, the space the departments that will be moved into the new complex currently occupy is roughly 20% more than what they would occupy at the new complex, although much of that would be non-functional space lost from Beard-Eaves Coliseum.

“We have certainly taken the approach that all the spaces in the new building will be to the University standards, national standard, whereas an older building, because they've been around a long time, maybe not all the space was efficiently utilized,” Associate Vice President for Facilities Dan King said. “There was in some cases like the Coliseum space to grow into more than they might have needed. So reductions were possible.”

While no concrete timeline was provided by the Board of Trustees, the completion of the facility would pave the way for the immediate demolition of Parker Hall and the eventual demolition of both Funchess Hall and Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.

All three buildings were constructed during the 1960s. Parker Hall was constructed in 1963 and is currently home to the computer center and classrooms for math, chemistry and physics. First built in 1961, Funchess Hall accommodates the faculty and staff of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Originally named the Memorial Coliseum, Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum was partially renamed after Joel H. Eaves, a former Auburn basketball player and the Tigers’ all-time winningest coach who guided the school to its first SEC title in 1960.

The Coliseum served as the longtime home of men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics, wrestling and the United States handball team and even hosted Elvis Presley in 1974. 

In the first sporting event it hosted, the Tigers upset the “Pistol” Pete Maravich-led LSU team 90-71 on Jan. 11, 1969. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

Daniel Schmidt | Assistant News Editor

Daniel Schmidt, senior in journalism, is the assistant news editor for the Auburn Plainsman. 

Share and discuss “Auburn Board of Trustees approves construction of new STEM and agriculture complex” on social media.