The other day we were treated to a tour of the Science Teaching & Student Services (STSS) building on the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota, otherwise known as my new employer. Can I just say how much I love it there?!?!! I do, I do!! It’s so important to have the right job. But that is a post for another day.
The tour was arranged by our director and there were about 18 of us that went and we all had a great time. We went in different groups and the group that I was in just happened to be the four newbies to the team, with me being the second newest. I didn’t bring a lunch that day so we went to Chipotle to eat before heading over the Washington Avenue bridge to arrive at the STSS building. It’s about a 20 minute walk door to door.
A slightly off photo of our destination:
Check out this video that I found about the building when it opened several years ago. It replaced an old science building and the foundation from that building remained and materials recycled to create this new one. As the video says, it’s one of the greenest buildings on campus using the latest in sustainable heating and cooling. The entire west side of the building (seen here) is made of glass that contains a convection system of ceramic window dots called frits. These frits heat the building in winter. All of the administrative offices are on this side, facing west, while the classrooms, study areas and meeting places are on the other side.
There are many student services here including student account assistance, One Stop student services, career services, undergraduate academic and advising services and an interview center. There are also what I referred to as “the classroom of the future” and the video calls them the same thing. There are ten of these Active Learning Classrooms featuring large round tables, switchable laptop-based technology, fixed flat-panel display projection systems, a central teaching station that display table-specific information and a 360 degree marker board around the perimeter of the rooms. (copied from the information handed out at the beginning of our tour)
As if all of this wasn’t interesting enough, check out this cool piece of art hanging from the 5th level ceiling and attached to the ground floor. It’s within the main staircase, called “A-spire” and was created by Minnesota-based artist Alexander Tylevich. Looking down:
When it was time to return to work we headed out the door to walk back over the Washington Avenue bridge. One can’t help but notice the unique architecture of the Weisman Art Museum directly across from STSS. I recently visited the museum and have a post about that at the link. Do check it out. I really enjoyed that museum and I think it’s time to pay another visit.
We had walked on the uncovered part of the bridge on the way over so we decided to walk in the covered portion upon our return. Inside the walls are covered with painted “posters” advertising all sort of clubs and services on and around campus. Here are a handul of those.
All in all a very successful and interesting adventure. What a treat to get to visit other parts of campus. If you have the chance to visit, do check out this building. As soon as you step in the doors you feel like you’ve been transported to the future.