RAPID CITY, S.D. — The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is in the process of developing plans for a $37 million research center. Officials say the new facility will help the school meets its goal of tripling graduate enrollment in addition to the amount of annual research awards.
The 120,000-square-foot center will be funded partly by student tuition dollars, though most of the money will come from grants and private and federal funding.
The current space on campus for research is not adequate, which is causing the university to lease 32,600 square feet of space off campus, according to Tim Henderson, vice president for finance and administration for SDCMT.
“If you’re going to attract top-notch researchers and faculty, you need to show them some space that they’re going to be attracted to,” said Henderson in a statement. “If you have a research center where people work together, live together, and it attracts the type of stars you want, there’s a lot of synergies, teamwork and cooperation that doesn’t occur when you’re located all over the place.”
The SDCMT is now developing a “program plan” for the facility, as well as searching for an architectural and engineering firm to develop design and cost estimates. Since specific funding sources have not been identified yet, construction may not begin for three to five years, according to Henderson.
The SDCMT is looking to increase undergraduate enrollment by 50 percent, triple graduate enrollment and expand faculty from 150 to 220, according to the school’s 30-year plan.
"As the School of Mines grows student enrollment and the research faculty, having state-of-the-art facilities to house research activities is critically important," said Duane Hrncir, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "The proposed research facility is a key piece of the university’s growth and will assure that the School of Mines remains a leader in engineering and scientific research.”