Flint, MI—A new building is coming to the University of Michigan-Flint’s campus. 

The University of Michigan Board of Regents unanimously approved the construction of a new facility at UM-Flint on March 23, 2023. The facility will serve as the auxiliary building of UM-Flint’s College of Innovation & Technology (CIT), which currently operates out of the William R. Murchie Science Building.

CIT’s Dean Christopher Pearson said the roughly $10 million project has been years in the making. 

“We’re very excited that we’re finally at this point, and it’ll be a nice gem on the UM-Flint campus,” Pearson said. 

The 15,000-square-foot facility will be located adjacent to UM-Flint’s William S. White Building on the campus’ north end, according to Charles Lewis, president of Integrated Design Solutions, the architectural firm supporting the project.

He said the all-electric building will feature teaching labs surrounding a core learning space.

“Instructional labs are organized around a shared central collaboration space with more informal collaboration zones located around the perimeter and at primary corners,” Lewis told the Board.

A rendering of the University of Michigan-Flint College of Innovation & Technology Building’s exterior. (Image courtesy of UM-Flint)

One of the laboratories in the building will be able to house electrical or autonomous vehicles, Pearson added, with the adjacent lab having the capacity for students and faculty to conduct research on vehicle batteries. 

Pearson said CIT also envisions the building serving as a space for programs, such as educational camps for middle and high school students, and student presentations to industry partners.

“We really designed the building to be a collaborative entity that the community could use and that UM-Flint industry partners could also use together,” he said. 

CIT first launched in 2021 and currently serves a total of nearly 500 students, Pearson noted. The college expects that number to roughly double within the next five years as it introduces new degrees.

Thiago Ferreira, a CIT assistant professor of information technology and informatics, was one of the faculty members who provided input on the building’s design. He said it aims to create flexible spaces that can adapt to the changes in demand of various technology industries.

“My expectations are huge,” Ferreira said of the new facility. “I’m so excited about this.”

More broadly, he hopes that the building could become launch pad for UM-Flint students’ creative ideas.

According to Pearson, the building’s groundbreaking is expected to take place by this upcoming spring or summer, and construction will take from a year and a half to two years for completion. 

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...

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