The 40-year partnership between Colorado School of Mines and the U.S. Geological Survey is reaching new heights.
The two organizations recently broke ground on the USGS Energy and Minerals Research Facility on the Mines campus. The building, which is scheduled to open in fall 2026, will house 250 USGS researchers and 170 Mines faculty and students for collaborative research and continued partnership.
The new 190,000-square-foot building will be directly east of the USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center near 18th and Illinois streets. The 2021 federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act is funding the $240 million construction project.
“World-class science demands world-class space,” USGS Director David Applegate said at the Nov. 13 groundbreaking ceremony, “and we’re going to have it here.”
Once completed, Applegate said it’ll house the fourth-largest concentration of USGS employees anywhere, and the largest on any college campus. The agency is planning to move its Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center and Central Energy Resources Science Center from the Denver Federal Center once it’s open.
It’ll also be a full part of the Mines campus, President Paul C. Johnson said, with classrooms, social spaces, faculty offices and laboratories. Once done, it’ll be the largest research facility on the campus, and will allow for major educational and workforce development opportunities, he and other university officials said.
With about 200 Mines and USGS employees, federal government representatives and others in attendance at the Nov. 13 groundbreaking, Applegate and Johnson emphasized how many of them made this vision come to fruition after eight or nine years of discussions.
Johnson said the groundbreaking was more than a mere ceremony, but a celebration of all the people who “stuck with this vision” for so long and worked so hard to finally make it happen.
He, Applegate and others were very excited about the continued partnership and collaborative research between Mines and USGS, saying it’ll lead to crucial discoveries in the energy sector when the world needs it most.
“This is the place; this is the time,” Johnson continued.
Applegate said the partnership between Mines and USGS first started in the 1970s with the Geologic Hazards Science Center, commenting, “These partnerships really do last … and we’re going to turbo-charge it now.”