VCU to replace old Franklin Street gym with new STEM building
5/10/2019, 6 a.m.
The old gymnasium at Virginia Commonwealth University will be replaced with a $121 million, six-story building dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM subjects, it has been announced.
Demolition is to begin next spring on the antiquated Franklin Street Gymnasium at 817 W. Franklin St. to make room for the modern STEM building, according to VCU officials.
The development cleared its final hurdle last week when Gov. Ralph S. Northam approved the new state budget that included authorization and funding for VCU to proceed.
“The new STEM facility will provide learning, research and collaboration space in a location that is in the heart of the student community,” said VCU President Michael Rao.
The new building will include the Math Exchange, an innovative facility for math instruction; a science learning center; computer labs; and flexible classrooms.
There also will be instructional wet and dry labs and classrooms for teaching chemistry, biology, physics, math, psychology and kinesiology.
The College of Humanities and Sciences, of which the new building will be a key element, annually awards more than 1,500 degrees in STEM disciplines, according to VCU, while more than 15,000 students take STEM classes yearly.
VCU has needed more lab space as student use has exceeded capacity, particularly in chemistry and physics.
The new building also is seen as helping VCU keep pace with the growing demand for college graduates with STEM degrees.