There were still a lot of boxes to unpack, and some small, mostly cosmetic, tasks for crews to finish, such as installing window blinds and hanging up coat hooks.
But none of those things could have kept faculty members and students from moving into the new Cebula Hall at Saint Martin’s University on Tuesday, the first day of the spring semester.
“It was on target,” said Zella Kahn-Jetter, dean of engineering. “I’d say 99 percent of everything is here already.”
The three-story, nearly 26,916-square-foot engineering facility was built “green” with several environmentally friendly features, including:
• A geothermal energy system.
• Solar panels.
• Water-saver landscaping with native plants and grasses.
• Recycled building materials. “Almost all of the wood is recycled,” Kahn-Jetter said “… It is an incredibly sustainable building.”
• An area for a rooftop garden.
The building also features state-of-the-art interactive teaching and learning tools, including Smartboards that serve as both projectors and white boards in the classrooms, a three-dimensional printer and classroom computers loaded with the latest software and engineering tools, Kahn-Jetter said.
“There’s a lot of awesome new technology,” said David Lawrence, 21, a mechanical engineering student.
The building cost about $7.5 million.
“The construction of Cebula Hall has been completely funded with financial contributions and pledges,” said university spokeswoman Sarah Holdener. The university also plans to build an industrial laboratory on campus during the next couple of years, Kahn-Jetter said.
In some areas of the new Cebula Hall, duct work, pipes, beams and insulation are exposed.
Those spaces aren’t part of a construction punch list; the structural and mechanical components were intentionally left open to give students a real-life view of construction science and architectural engineering.
Students also will be able to monitor the building’s solar-energy use and get a first-hand look at how its high-tech systems work.
“The building almost becomes an interactive laboratory,” Kahn-Jetter said.