SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There's a flurry of construction at San Jose State University, as crews continue to work on the school's Interdisciplinary Science Building, which is the first new academic building to be built on campus in more than three decades.
"We want our students training in spaces that are just like the spaces they'll encounter in the industry," said Michael Kaufman, dean of the SJSU College of Science.
"We want a student who comes out of their introductory chemistry lab on the teaching side, to look across the hall and see their fellow students working side-by-side with faculty in modern, state-of-the-art research labs."
ABC7 News was on campus Monday morning as hundreds of students and staff signed the final structural beam, which will be hoisted into place this week.
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"This is going to change how we teach, how our students get jobs in the future, and just how the community views the university," said SJSU Vice President for Administration and Finance Charlie Haas.
The eight-story, $181 million building will house chemistry and biology teaching and research labs, as well as a center for high-performance computing and a data science information lab.
There will also be dedicated space for students to collaborate with each other.
"We need more kids to get active in the world right now, especially with climate change and everything, so this is a good thing that they're doing," said SJSU senior Atharv Keskaar, who shared his excitement about the project.
Kevin Wan, who serves as the principal at Gunderson High School in San Jose, says SJSU's profile has risen in recent years.
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He says the San Jose Unified School District and the university have developed a mutually beneficial relationship in which students are exposed to SJSU early in their high school years through field trips and in-school visits.
"Students can see that right in their backyard... there is a high-quality program that they have the ability to be a part of and be able to prepare for the workplace," added Wan.
Current students say the new building will just add to the university's growing popularity.
"It was home to me, but now, maybe people from Southern California or even out of the state want to go here, and I think that's pretty cool," said SJSU senior Kelly Bufete.
The ISB building is expected to be done by January 2022 and represents the first phase of the university's new science and innovation park on campus.
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San Jose State University holds 'topping out' event for new science building