Bridging between higher education and industry with hands-on learning

Colorado Mesa University, Confluence Hall Engineering Building, Grand Junction, CO

This ground-up building integrates the CMU Engineering Department and the Eureka McConnell Science Museum into a single facility that serves both the university and the Grand Junction community at large. The academic portion of the building includes engineering labs, maker spaces, project labs, classrooms, and office spaces for the mechanical and civil engineering programs. General assignment classrooms are also included. The Science Museum is a destination for children and families interested in exploring science through interactive exhibits, and school and summer programs.

The building is located on university property and anchors the west end of the future extension of the university’s main east-west campus mall. As the first new building at the western edge of the campus, its iconic design sets the standard for further adjacent development. This conceptual campus design illustrates the function and amenities that together create a “roadmap” for westward campus development.

The project incorporates sustainable construction techniques and seeks a Three Green Globes certification by utilizing sustainable materials, optimization of energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems, natural daylighting, and a connection to the campus geoexchange system.

The highlight of the project was watching the excitement on the students’ faces the first time they entered the building. That excitement has not stopped. Since our opening, the building has been continuously occupied (nights and weekends). The students are exploring every square foot of the building and are learning how to use it to support their education.

Brigitte Sundermann, CMU Department Head of Engineering