NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University will hold a public ribbon cutting for the Ed and Gwen Cole STEM Building at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.  

Designed to foster collaboration and innovation, the STEM Building boasts a planetarium with a 52-foot dome, makerspaces and multipurpose labs. The facility also features a machine shop, a digital media center, computer labs, research labs, collaborative classrooms and a terrace with telescopes.

“The outside of the building will ‘speak’ science, technology, engineering and mathematics with displays and features that reflect the hands-on and inquiry-based learning opportunities that will take place inside,” said Dr. Kimberly Childs, dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics. “SFA students of all majors will benefit from the educational opportunities offered within the STEM Building and will be immersed in a high-tech environment with state-of-the-art instrumentation and equipment.”

The SFA Board of Regents broke ground in 2016 after the 84th Texas Legislature granted the university approximately $46.4 million in tuition revenue bond funding. Named for Ed Cole and his wife, the late Gwen Cole, supporters of numerous SFA programs, the STEM building also houses a three-story glass atrium named for the late regent Barry Nelson, former chair of the Building and Grounds committee, for his integral role in the planning phase of the building.

Responding to a national call for STEM reform, SFA began to implement activities, courses and outreach initiatives with the aim of encouraging students to develop a greater interest in STEM.

“A vibrant science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce is vital to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness,” Childs said. “With the addition of the STEM Building, SFA is perfectly positioned to lead this charge across the East Texas region and to have an explosive impact in Texas.”

To learn more about SFA’s STEM program, visit