Kennesaw State breaks ground for interdisciplinary STEM building

Five people in hardhats holding shovels for a groundbreaking ceremony

PHOTO: L-R, KSU student Nick Farinucci, Chancellor Sonny Perdue, KSU President Kathy Schwaig, Board of Regents members Cade Joiner and Jose Perez (photo by Matt Yung)

[This article by Gary Tanner first appeared on the Kennesaw State University website, republished with permission]

Kennesaw State University on Friday announced the start of construction on its Interdisciplinary STEM Building on its Marietta Campus to advance collaborative research and teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The occasion was marked with a groundbreaking ceremony Friday afternoon and remarks from Kennesaw State President Kathy Schwaig, University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue and KSU mechanical engineering student Nick Farinacci, a President’s Parliament Student Ambassador.

“As an institution that’s working to build our research infrastructure, this building is going to be a key component to our research mission,” Schwaig said. “We solve problems not within disciplines, but across disciplines and so we will see advancements happen out of these laboratories that impact all the disciplines that we have on this campus and on our Kennesaw Campus such as business, the arts, the humanities, health, science and education.”

Because of its highly visible location, the “ISTEM” building will serve as a gateway to the Marietta Campus and as a symbol of investment in the future of current and future students, she added.

The approximately 70,000-square-foot building will promote collaboration among researchers across multiple disciplines, enhancing the opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in research endeavors with experienced faculty members.

The building will include several laboratory spaces – including multiple wet labs and dry labs, high bay labs, a cybersecurity research and teaching lab, and chemistry- and biology-based teaching labs – along with classrooms and student study areas. Located just off the Marietta Campus quad, the ISTEM building is scheduled to be completed in fall 2025.

Farinacci said the new building will provide bigger and better spaces for research and for student competition teams, such as the Aerial Robotics Team that he leads.

“I speak on behalf of the KSU Marietta Campus student body when I say that we are absolutely thrilled and thankful to have the ISTEM building here,” he said. “We are incredibly grateful to those who made it possible. The ISTEM building will be such an amazing resource for our students and a new hub of innovation and learning.”

After his remarks, Farinacci introduced Perdue.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve just seen why we do what we do,” Perdue said of Farinacci. “This is the reason, for our students and why this building is going to be so successful. Anyone can build infrastructure, but it’s really the people inside them who make it happen, and they are number one customers, our number one responsibility.”

All of the speakers emphasized the importance of STEM education in preparing graduates for current and future jobs in high-growth areas such as software engineering, cybersecurity, game design and more.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved design and construction of the building in September 2022.