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$78.5 million basic sciences complex approved for construction at UAB

  • February 07, 2020
UAB’s newest academic complex will support the basic sciences, with the first phase housing biology and physics.

SEC 14th Street Birds Eye 1A rendering of what the new UAB Science and Engineering Complex will look like from 14th Street South looking northwest. The fundamental building blocks of all scientific research and education, alongside the foundations of the world’s economy, have the basic sciences at their core. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is set to invest $78.5 million in the new UAB Science and Engineering Complex. The initial phase will serve as the home to the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Biology and Department of Physics, along with laboratory and support space for the Department of Chemistry.  

“This is a significant step as we continue to build on our unprecedented momentum in every corner of our campus with tremendous support from the Board,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “New, modern building projects like this — and like our Collat School of Business, School of Nursing, Hill Student Center, Police and Public Safety Headquarters, new and upcoming residence hall, and our new University Hall — are monuments to the hard work and support of so many who have made our continued growth possible, and they foreshadow greater things to come.”

UAB enrollment continues to grow, with record enrollment over the last four years. It has become imperative that UAB builds a facility that supports goals to attract faculty, increase grant funding, and train the next generation of health care, science and research professionals.

Click here to take a look inside the new Science and Engineering Complex.

“As our programs in science and engineering continue to grow, it is important that we provide facilities to support their educational and research efforts,” said UAB Provost Pam Benoit. “The new complex will enhance facilities to support strategic initiatives around education, research, innovation and economic development, as well as community engagement.”

The building’s innovative, collaborative lab spaces will catalyze new ways of doing research and teaching students. Carefully designed and strategically located, this building will:

  • Concentrate undergraduate and graduate classrooms and laboratories in a cohesive campus environment;
  • House multiple disciplines in the same facility to encourage interdisciplinary research and education;
  • Establish a landmark structure that will identify UAB as the state’s premier research university;
  • Provide state-of-the-art facilities and technology to make UAB and the region more economically competitive;
  • Enhance collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences and other schools, including the School of Engineering, the School of Medicine and the Collat School of Business, among others; and
  • Foster partnerships with business and civic leaders to facilitate critical local and statewide workforce development to spur entrepreneurship and innovation.

Placing UAB’s leading scientists in the same facility will create more opportunities for interdisciplinary research that will bolster economic development in Alabama and across the globe, supporting UAB’s strategic plan, Forging the Future.

“This new Science and Engineering Complex will serve as an engine that will transform education and provide new economic development opportunities for UAB, the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama,” said Robert Palazzo, Ph.D., dean of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. The new complex, designed by Goodwin Mills and Cawood, will replace the current Education Building located on 14th Street South between University Boulevard and 10th Avenue South, adjacent to the Mini Park. UAB is working with Lord Aeck Sargent as a consultant on lab and research space.  

Significant design features of the building include:

  • 145,784 square feet of instructional, research and support laboratory space, classroom space, and faculty and staff office and support space;
  • UAB’s central steam and chilled water distribution systems will extend to the site to provide for efficient and economical heating and cooling;
  • A storm shelter in the basement of the building;
  • Multiple collaboration rooms that foster a team learning environment — one of UAB’s instructional pillars; and
  • Project-based research and research labs that allow for student shadowing.

Future phases of UAB’s Science and Engineering Complex will provide additional space for the Department of Chemistry, as well as the School of Engineering. UAB’s School of Education will be relocated to the newly renovated space within the Education and Engineering Complex, formerly known as the Business and Engineering Complex, to allow for demolition as part of the first phase of work.