Supporting the educational mission of Montana Tech of the University of Montana, located in Butte, CTA designed their new, future-focused Natural Resources Research Center. The 35,000 sq. ft. addition includes a petroleum research lab, concrete strengths lab, wood stress research area, fluids lab, nanotechnologies suite, safety training center, and a project shop. The new spaces are intentionally organized to maximize and encourage cross-disciplinary and social interaction within a central atrium core while augmenting the functionality of the existing Engineering Lab Classroom (ELC) building used for doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate-level research and instruction.
The connections between “old” and “new” occur at two floor levels and unite the lower front-facing sidewalk with the alumni building level to the north. This linkage between existing and outdoor spaces sets the social atrium at the intersection of multiple paths of travel for students, with visual access to all of the primary lab activities — learning on display.
In addition to the new laboratory and classroom spaces, CTA also renovated the existing building for ADA accessibility, electrical, mechanical, safety system, envelope, and telecom/AV upgrades, including lab spaces, classrooms, and support areas. The entire team worked to make certain the client’s sustainability and logistical goals were met. The new Natural Resources Research Center was completed on-budget (as part of a state funding package matched by private donations) and has earned three Green Globes.