After a presentation on technology by former astronaut Leroy Chiao, and a panel discussion on diversity featuring heavyweights in Colorado’s aerospace industry, Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) officials broke ground October 8 for the school’s new $39-million Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building.

The project will help bolster the school’s educational mission in partnership with Colorado’s growing presence in the aerospace industry.

The building, prominently sited along Auraria Parkway, will house programs in the aerospace sciences; civil, electrical and mechanical engineering technology; computer information systems and computer science, and industrial design—courses related to Colorado’s current push to promote STEM education.

Before the groundbreaking by school officials and guests, MSU President Stephen Jordan announced that the building will house the state’s only Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, as well as a “flexible” fourth floor that will include equipment from advanced manufacturers.

The aerospace building, designed by Denver’s Anderson Mason Dale Architects and being built by general contractor GH Phipps Construction Cos., is slated to meet standards for LEED-Gold certification. Construction will begin by the end of October and finish in July 2017.