New Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Facility At UND Aerospace

Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2017 issue

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The University of North Dakota’s (UND) Robin Hall opened last year as the tallest building in Grand Forks and the headquarters for the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) programs at UND’s nationally acclaimed John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. After more than a year of construction, the first students arrived for the 2016-17 academic year.

The $22 million, 72,000-square-foot aerospace research facility was designed by ICON Architectural Group. Olaf Anderson Construction served as the general contractor. The building’s sleek, light-filled design features curtainwall and storefront systems from Tubelite Inc. of Walker, Michigan, to meet the structure’s modern aesthetic, sustainability goals and performance requirements.

Inside Robin Hall, four floors house a large auditorium, student study space, administration offices, classrooms, collaborative learning spaces and hangar space for flight testing. The building’s basement also includes open research space with laboratories and simulators. A skywalk directly connects the new facility to UND Aerospace’s Ina Mae Rude and Ryan Hall.

UND’s School of Aerospace Sciences has seen tremendous growth. The university was the first to offer a bachelor’s degree in unmanned aircraft systems, which has been a major focus since 2008.

Private donations and $1.5 million in matches from the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education Challenge Fund largely financed Robin Hall. The building’s name honors the largest contributors to the project, Mary E. Bazar and Si Robin.

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