Atmospheric Science Department Completes Expansion on Foothills Campus with New Chemistry Building

Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence, recently expanded into the new Atmospheric Chemistry Building at Colorado State University’s Foothills Campus. The building opened in August and is adjacent to the Atmospheric Science buildings on the Foothills Campus.

The new building provides researchers and students with a state-of-the-art facility for the study of atmospheric chemistry and air quality, including studies of aerosol and cloud microphysics and chemistry, aerosol-cloud interactions and impacts of aerosols on regional haze and climate.

State-of-the-art laboratories are featured in the 12,512-square-foot building, including aerosol, cloud and analytical chemistry laboratories. The facility will also host the National Park Service’s mobile air quality laboratory, which was designed with the active participation of Colorado State Atmospheric Science researchers and will be used to study air quality and visibility issues in various parts of the country. The new Atmospheric Chemistry building and the institutional commitment it represents was an important plus in CSU’s proposal submitted to the recent competition for National Science Foundation Major Research

Instrumentation grants, and helped CSU land a $900,000 award to purchase cutting-edge equipment for the new laboratories.

The two-story building also houses faculty, research staff and graduate student offices for the department’s atmospheric chemistry program. Construction on the $2.5 million project began in October 2004. The facility was built with federal funds received by the university.

Colorado State’s College of Engineering offers a graduate program in Atmospheric Science with about 100 graduate students currently enrolled. The Department of Atmospheric Science is a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence – a program that has achieved great distinction and set a standard for excellence that serves as a model for programs throughout the university. The department credits this honor to its renowned academic and research programs. Steven Rutledge serves as head of the department.

"We are very proud to have this state-of-the-art atmospheric chemistry facility that will support cutting-edge research by our faculty, staff and students. We also are very grateful to the University for their strong support in helping us achieve this fantastic facility," Rutledge said.

Next up for the Department of Atmospheric Science is the launch of CloudSat, a satellite radar that will be used by NASA to study cloud structure and how clouds contribute to climate change. Graeme Stephens, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science, is the principal investigator for NASA’s $175 million project. CloudSat is scheduled to launch before the end of 2005.