After over six years of planning, design and construction, the William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation is complete and is hosting students in classes for the first time during the spring 2023 quarter.
The four level building features three university scheduled classrooms, 46 faculty offices and 22 lab spaces including a variety of specialized labs such as a full culinary kitchen lab, sensory lab, computational lab and expressive motion and cinematic design studio. Other lab spaces in the building can also be configured to fit the specific needs of student researchers.
The Frost Center is primarily an undergraduate research facility. It was designed with the intention of creating a space separate from teaching labs where undergraduate students can conduct research and control lab environments.
“The other labs that we have on campus are shared between faculty that are doing their research with some of their students and teaching in the same space. So now we’ve created a dedicated space for that so that we don’t have two competing interests between teaching a class and controlling the environment for research,” said Carla Brown, the Senior Project Manager for Facilities Planning and Capital Projects.
Though the Frost Center is primarily a research facility, specialized spaces in the building such as the culinary lab are intended to expand and elevate some of the learning opportunities that are already offered in different spaces on campus.
“The College of Agriculture for example, they have provided a program for teaching students how to cook in culinary arts. Now they are going to be able to expand that even more, so I think it will enhance and expand the way that faculty members are going to be able to teach on campus,” Brown said.
Visitors can look into the various lab spaces as students are working in them through large glass windows throughout the interior of the building. Some of the classrooms and labs also feature large sliding glass doors that can be opened to connect the space with the main atrium on the first floor.
“The first floor is where most of the students are going to be gathering because it is where we have the three university scheduled classrooms… the thought process is that there will be times throughout the year where we can expand the use of the atrium,” Brown said.
The 133 million dollar center houses spaces for The College of Science and Mathematics, College of Liberal Arts and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
“With this building the goal has been to bring those colleges together and find ways to collaborate. Without even knowing it, outside of the building, they were already collaborating and having synergies between them so this is a space where we can have them all under one roof and foster that collaboration even more,” Brown said.