Cal Poly officially broke ground on the new $125 million interdisciplinary research building Friday, May 3. Previously referred to as the Science and Agriculture Teaching and Research Center (SATRC), University President Jeffrey Armstrong announced the building will be named the William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation.
“This is a dream that several people have been working on for some time,” Armstrong said. “This is a great example of state funding, Cal Poly funding, and over $50 million in funds from donors coming together to make something special happen.”
William and Linda Frost are credited for their historic $110 million donation to Cal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics in 2017. The Frost’s contributed $30 million to the new building’s $125 million price tag, according to Armstrong.
The research center is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES). This will be the first truly interdisciplinary building on Cal Poly’s campus, according to Frost Fund Director Phil Bailey.
It will house the CLA’s Expressive Technology Studios, which will include a 3,500-square-foot studio space, two recording studios and the same professional hardware and software found in the entertainment industry, according to CLA’s website. The building will also be home to culinary and sensory facilities, undergraduate research laboratories, 46 offices and three classrooms.
“This is a pretty special place at Cal Poly,” Bailey said. “You look around and tell me how many universities have decided to build a building dedicated to undergraduate research. We have. And I hope we do more in the future.”
External electrical work and equipment relocation for the project will begin this week, according to Bailey, and demolition will begin after commencement. The expected completion date is set for November 12, 2021.
The four-story, 102,000-square-foot building will run just north of the Baker Center for Science and next to existing Agricultural, Science and Liberal Arts buildings.
The Science North Annex (building 53A) is set to be demolished to make room for the new building.
Everything previously held in the Science North Annex will be relocated to the new building, except the plant conservatory and vivarium. However, plans have been developed to reconstruct both facilities near Poly Canyon Village, according to Armstrong. Funds to reconstruct the conservatory and vivarium will be drawn from the overall project’s $125 million budget.
The building’s design and construction will be led by ZGF Architects and Gildane Construction. According to Bailey, the companies were in charge of the design and construction of the Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics.
“We have the same group, so I think we’re going to have a wonderful building,” Bailey said.