EMU Information / November 4, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Jefferson

Did you know our communications on campus are routed through the roof of the Mark Jefferson Science Building?

EMU’s continued growth during the 1960s drove building projects under Presidents Elliott and Sponberg. In 1967, Sponberg arranged for the construction of a new science building. An appropriation from the state legislature provided the funds for the $8.25 million building. The new building contained 180,000 square feet of space divided among five stories plus a “penthouse” and basement. It was constructed of poured-in-place concrete with exterior walls of brick with stone trim. Inside, Mark Jefferson was fully air-conditioned, and the main floor contained four lecture halls and six large classrooms. Other floors had modern laboratories and facilities for research as well as faculty offices, reading rooms, and on the third floor, a museum. When it was built, the Mark Jefferson Science Building was intended to provide space for crowded departments. Initially, the building would house the Departments of Chemistry, Biology and Psychology. As more new buildings were completed, the Psychology Department would move to new quarters, leaving space that the Biology and Chemistry departments could use as they grew.

The roof of the building is home to a wireless communications antenna, built in 1997 by AT&T and is invisible from the ground. In 2006, the elevators received an upgrade. Beginning in 2009, the Christman Company will perform the $67.5 million renovation and new construction for EMU’s Mark Jefferson Science Complex. The project involves a renovation of the existing 183,000 square feet of the original 1969 structure, as well as a 151,000 addition of science lab and research space. This is the largest building project in EMU’s history. The new layout will allow instructors to employ new interdisciplinary instructional methods, creating more interactive, technology-rich classroom environments and permitting student work to be more collaborative. Project leaders are pursuing LEED Silver certification. Green design elements include such features as sunscreens, and low-volume flush valves.

Fast Facts:

Building name : Mark Jefferson Science Building

Construction date : 1967

Dedication date : October 24, 1969

Name after : Mark Jefferson, Head of Geography and Geology Department, 1901 – 1939

Building function : Departments of Chemistry and Biology

Cost(USD) : 8,500,000

Architect : Einhorn, Yaffee, Prescott, P.C., Albany, NY

Architecture style : Brutalism

Square footage : 180,802


Tags:  Around Campus Behind the Scenes buildings Jefferson science





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