The white-domed IST building features a louvered roof system that adjusts with the sun's angle.

MIAMI—It’s not every day that an iconic educational building rises from a cow pasture. But that’s exactly what happened in Lakeland, FL at Florida Polytechnic University as Skanska delivered the 162,000-square-foot building for Innovation, Science & Technology (IST).

After winning ENR Southeast’s Best Project Award in the higher education category, the IST building is set to serve the newest university in Florida’s inaugural class. The white-domed IST building features a louvered roof system that adjusts with the sun’s angle and is surrounded by a ring of curved metal pergolas that shade its outer terrace and walkways. 

“Welcome to the cathedral of learning,” Chuck Jablon, vice president of operations at Skanska, said at the opening celebration. “If you’re a builder, this is what you dream about doing in your career. You think about it at nighttime, you think about it coming into work—it doesn’t leave you.”

Skanska completed construction of the IST building in 28 months. World-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava designed the building.

Florida Polytechnic is dedicated exclusively to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The university’s approach to learning focuses on real-world problem solving, work experience, applied research, and business leadership opportunities through industry partnerships.

For its part, the IST building houses classrooms, auditoriums, administrative offices, common areas, and several laboratories. The Supercomputer and Student Data Center, a Visualization and Technology Collaboration (VTC) Lab, and a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Makerspace Lab with 3D printing capabilities are highlights of the facility.

“Florida Polytechnic University’s strong focus on STEM education and its dedication to helping students graduate with valuable skills will play a key role in creating jobs for the next generation in Florida,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “A highly skilled workforce will ensure that companies in Florida will be able to grow.”