On October 22nd, the Colorado School of Mines welcomed a new long-term deal between the University and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The deal involves nearly $100 million dollars of campus construction and renovation, sliced up into a new $120 million building, $161 million in related investment, and 150 new scientists working throughout campus. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed the deal alongside Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, Colorado Representative (CO-7) Ed Perlmutter, and Mines President Paul Johnson. The meeting included Mines Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas E. Jorden and Roseann Gonzales-Schreiner, the USGS Associate Director for Administration and Acting Director of the Southwest Region.
Zinke, who used to represent Montana as the state’s lone house representative before being appointed head the Department of the Interior, spoke after the signing, with high hopes for the future of the two institutions.
“Partnering with Colorado School of Mines, a world-class earth science research institution, and co-locating our scientists and researchers creates incredible opportunities to spur innovation and transformational breakthroughs, while also providing an incredible pool of talent from which to recruit,” Zinke stated.
The Colorado School of Mines is already home to the USGS Geological Hazards Science Center and its National Earthquake Information Center, and has been their home for the past 40 years. The Federal Mineral Research Lab is set to move from Lakewood into the Frontiers Subsurface Building, which will be the new building constructed on campus as a part of the deal in the coming years. The deal had been in the talks for the past couple of years with Gardner and Perlmutter, both of whom come from separate political parties, taking the lead to secure it.
“This will be a model, I think, around the country for the work we can do when we take the private sector, our universities, and the resources of our government to a university setting to cooperate to get great things done,” Senator Gardner said.
Congressman Perlmutter followed, speaking of the impact the local community and the school will feel from the deal.
“This new Subsurface Frontiers Building on the Mines Campus will be a tremendous asset for their faculty and students, and housing USGS staff and lab space will further cement the strong relationship between Mines, USGS and the Department of the Interior.”
President Johnson additionally had some thoughts on the deal and the benefits not only to the university but to the Colorado economy in general.
“The expanded USGS presence at Mines will capitalize on our collective expertise to address the availability of mineral and energy resources, environmental challenges and geo-environmental hazards, all of which are of critical importance to national security and the economies of Colorado and the nation. It will also create an incredibly unique educational environment that will produce the leaders we need to tackle future challenges related to exploration and development of resources here on Earth and in space, subsurface infrastructure and sustainable stewardship of the Earth,” he stated.
Once completed, the Frontiers Research Center will bring in grants for the school and its professors, research opportunities, and various internships and jobs for Mines undergraduate and graduate students.