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Stephen F. Austin State University
COLE STEM Building


Architect |

Structural Engineer |

General Contractor |

Completion |

Kirksey Architects

Ensight Haynes Whaley

JE Kingham Construction Co.

August 2018

This 4-story, 87,000 sf laboratory building is designed to accommodate a diverse array of STEM related activities. The building will house the Departments of Physics, Engineering, Astronomy, and Computer Science. Notable amenities include a 52-foot planetarium dome, and maker-spaces that allow students to collaborate and create prototypes or other manufactured works. The conventional steel building with composite floor system includes a bleacher-style monumental stair allowing for lectures or demonstrations as well as a third level, cantilevered, glass-walled conference room that soars over the atrium space.

The planetarium is situated within the 3-story high open atrium space. One of the challenges was to provide conditioned air to the exterior of the atrium and quiet air to the planetarium without crossing the atrium or interrupting the ceiling. The design team solved this challenge with an elaborate underground duct-work network. This network had to coordinate with other underground utilities and actually had to extend outside the primary building footprint to reach the perimeter of the atrium.

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