An illustration of the new building
A rendering of the College of Humanities and Sciences’ new 168,000-square-foot STEM building.

VCU to celebrate opening of new STEM building

The 168,000-square-foot building, located at the site of the former Franklin Street Gym, will expand lab, classroom and office space for the College of Humanities and Sciences.

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Virginia Commonwealth University will hold a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. on April 26 to officially open the College of Humanities and Sciences’ new 168,000-square-foot STEM building.

The six-floor building, located at the site of the former Franklin Street Gym at 817 W. Franklin St., will expand lab, classroom and office space for the College of Humanities and Sciences. Nearly 60% of VCU undergraduate students are enrolled in the college, which is home to 17 departments, two schools and three programs. 

“At VCU we pride ourselves on making education and research more accessible to all students. Modern facilities thoughtfully designed to support learning and innovation will foster our ability to shape Virginia, its robust economy and the well-being of people everywhere,” said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health. “As we educate the next generation of scientists and leaders, VCU’s new STEM building will foster seamless integration of classroom learning with hands-on research engagement, encouraging students to collaborate across disciplines and facilitate discovery — which is what the world needs. We are modeling a truly public research university in the 21st century.”

The STEM building will feature 32 teaching labs; the Math Exchange, an innovative facility for math instruction; a Science Hub, a dedicated space for student/faculty interaction, study groups and specialized support for STEM classes; two 250-seat, team-based learning classrooms; computer labs; and large- and small-capacity flexible classrooms. It will feature instructional wet and dry labs and classrooms for teaching STEM subjects.

The building also will provide a common space for VCU students taking gateway and upper-level courses in anthropology, biology, chemistry, forensic science, kinesiology, mathematics, physics and psychology.

It will provide classroom and study space for more than 10,000 students who will take up to 70 courses in the building each semester, beginning in fall 2023.

The STEM building will support the College of Humanities and Sciences’ continued work to deliver an innovative sciences curriculum that is seamlessly integrated with research, better preparing VCU’s graduates to understand and solve contemporary problems. It also will be a place where growing talents are nurtured and foundational laboratory skills are taught, and where faculty will mentor and train tomorrow’s science leaders.

Funding for the approximately $125 million project was provided by the commonwealth of Virginia in 2019. It was not funded by VCU students’ tuition or fees. The building was designed by Ballinger and Quinn Evans Architects and constructed by Hourigan.

Tours for news media will be available April 26. To RSVP for a tour or for additional information, reporters may contact