University of Wyoming and state elected officials will break ground Friday, March 8, for a new undergraduate laboratory facility in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The ceremony to launch construction of the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility is set for 1:30 p.m. at the site of the project, located north of Lewis Street between 10th and 11th streets on the north side of UW’s campus.

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., for whom the building is named, will be among those turning ceremonial shovelfuls of dirt. The state’s senior senator will be joined as speaker during the event by Gov. Matt Mead, UW Board of Trustees President Dave Bostrom and UW President Tom Buchanan.

The public is invited to the groundbreaking ceremony.

The Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility is for teaching laboratories for introductory courses such as general chemistry, general biology, organic chemistry, elementary physics, mathematics, computational sciences, computer science and other large-enrollment lab courses. The nearly 100,000-square-foot facility will house about 32 laboratories, eight preparatory rooms and eight offices. It will not house research laboratories.

The new laboratory spaces will replace existing facilities on campus, many of which are outdated. For example, botany laboratories were last remodeled in the 1950s, while zoology and physiology, chemistry and physics laboratories remain essentially the same as when built nearly 45 years ago.

The new facility also will include a laboratory for a new UW undergraduate atmospheric sciences program that will interface with the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne.

Funding for the new building was made available through a 2011 Wyoming legislative appropriation of $50 million in federal Abandoned Mine Lands dollars. The project is being administered by the office of Construction Management in the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information.

Completion is scheduled for spring 2015.