Construction on $20 million addition to natural resources building to start in May

Jenn Yingling

An addition to the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building is set to open Fall 2018 with construction beginning mid-May.

According to John Hayes, the dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources, the 40,000 square-foot addition will include new teaching laboratories, a new student services center, a classroom designed for cloud-based computing and instruction.


“Enrollment in Warner College has expanded dramatically over the past several years,” Hayes wrote in an email to the Collegian. “High impact, high quality programs for our students creating new, modern education and advising facilities is a high priority.”

Hayes wrote that the new addition will also feature a number of formal and informal gathering spaces as well as a large, dynamic classroom designed for state-of-the-art teaching.

Construction on an addition to the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building will begin mid-May and the project is expected to be completed by Fall 2018. (Collegian file photo)


The $20 million project is largely funded by student fees through support from the University Fee Advisory Board along with a group of donors, according to a Source article.

Michael Smith, whom the building is named after, gave a $13 million gift to the University for the project and to create new scholarships in the Warner College and the College of Business. A gift from Ed Warner, the college’s namesake, kick-started the philanthropy.

Smith, an energy entrepreneur, is a CSU alumnus with a degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.

Construction will begin shortly after the spring semester ends and the architecture will reflect nature, include views to the outdoors and utilize natural lighting, according to Source.

“While there will clearly be some inconveniences in the next year and a half as the construction moves forward, the outcome should be outstanding,” Hayes wrote. “This is one more step in our college’s efforts to advance our philosophy of continuous improvement to do whatever we can to create the strongest educational environment possible for students at CSU.”

Hayes believes the new addition will build on the climate of engagement and interactions between the students, faculty and staff within the college.

The building will continue to show the college’s commitment to sustainability. The facility will be LEED-Certified, meaning less water and energy usage, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The designs for the building are being finalized and students can expect the rest of the building to remain open throughout construction.

Collegian reporter Jenn Yingling can be reached at or on Twitter @jenn_yingling.