College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Student Innovation Center construction crew building a common ground for collaboration

Alli Weaver
A digital representation of what the SIC will look like when finished

Construction on the Student Innovation Center began in March 2017 and is scheduled to be completed in early 2020, according to Leroy Brown, Iowa State University’s construction manager.

The construction crew is not only building a structure, but a common ground for teams to collaborate and innovate – a glass building with the ability to let light and new ideas shine through.

The SIC is set to open in spring 2020 with the mission to “be a destination that inspires students to innovate through experimentation, interdisciplinary collaboration and free exchange of ideas in an inclusive environment.”

“This building will provide a much-needed space for students to gather and collaborate on a multitude of different projects,” Brown said.

The crew works on multiple levels, from down in the dirt to high in the air to make innovations of many shapes and sizes possible in the SIC.

Alli Weaver
A crew member on the top floor attaches equipment to the crane’s hanging cord.

An innovative design for an innovation building

The 140,000-square-foot SIC will be made mostly of glass, produced and assembled overseas, according to Brown.

“It is precision work that has to be closely monitored,” Brown said. “While I’ve done several large-scale projects for the university, this one is different because of the glass envelope.”

The glass will be shipped across the ocean in cargo containers, which will then be shipped by rail to Kansas City, according to Brown. From there, trucks will transport them to the jobsite.

Alli Weaver
The crew works on multiple levels to ensure that innovations of many shapes and sizes will be possible in the SIC.

According to Brown, the size of the crew varies from day-to-day, depending on the stage of construction. As of August, there are about 70 tradesmen onsite, which will increase to around 155 at the peak of construction around late next spring to early next summer.

“While it’s a challenge, it’s exciting to see it all come together,” Brown said.

The SIC is being built in the location which, until demolition in spring 2017, was home to two parts of Sweeney Hall, built in 1927 and 1931, and the entirety of the Nuclear Engineering Laboratory, built in 1934.

To see the construction in action, click herehere or here.

Taking collaboration to new heights

Alli Weaver
The crane is used to move heavy equipment, up to 39,670 pounds at the tower, around the job site.

One of the more challenging jobs, according to Brown, is that of the crane operator.

The operator is positioned high up on the crane, and is in contact with staff on the ground, and his job is to safely move materials around the jobsite.

The crane is 220 feet in the air with a 262-foot boom. It is capable of lifting 8,820 pounds at the end of the boom and 39,670 pounds at the tower.

Brown works with contractors and consultants to make sure that the building is being built properly and according to plans and contract documents. In addition to this project, Brown is working on the road projects on Bissell, Welch and Union Drive, as well as the Jack Trice South End Zone project and two projects in the Lied Recreation Center dealing with steam to gas conversion and a hot water piping project.

The SIC is hiring a director – click here to find out more about the position.