NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The impressive construction of Stephen F. Austin State University's new STEM building is taking shape.
On Monday, the regents who oversee its progress got their first glimpse inside. East Texas News followed along to provide you a look inside as well.
From outside, the STEM building's four stories of glass catch the eye. A step inside the focal point is the SFA Planetarium 50-foot dome, which reaches four stories. The architect knows the structure itself is an engineering marvel.
"The crew, they're flown over here from England," said James Faux, the architect. "That is all they do is specialty domes."
Once completed, the dome will become a light show.
"So, they'll be able to highlight the dome and change the colors of the dome," Faux said.
Classrooms are called "makerspaces" where ideas are placed on glass marking boards. Large doors will accommodate any size invention. A digital media lab and open collaborated areas called "huddle spaces" encourage students to exchange ideas.
Bottom line, SFA regents are counting on this STEM building to attract new students.
The Texas Legislature granted SFA approximately $46.4 million in tuition revenue bonds that helped fund the construction. John Kingham, the president of the J.E. Kingham construction company, pleased regents by coming in under budget.
"This is right at a $39 million job, all end," Kingham said.
"Which frees up some additional opportunities for us to finish the fourth floor and to do some parking lot work and some street work," said Bob Garrett, an SFA regent and the chairman of the building and grounds committee.
The building is futuristic, matching SFA President Dr. Baker Patillo's questions on planetarium readiness for a dedication in late July.
The Department of Computer Science and the Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy will be utilizing the building starting this fall.