Colorado School of Mines Celebrates Grand Opening of Labriola Innovation Hub

Pictured from left are: Mines Executive Vice President Kirsten Volpi; Gary Kring of the Clarence V. LaGuardia Foundation; Mines President Paul C. Johnson; Charlie McNeil '71; J. Don ’55 and Lois Thorson; and Mines Foundation CEO Brian Winkelbauer. (Photo by Mimi Clot de Broissia/Colorado School of Mines)

In one of the hallmark achievements of the MINES@150 strategic plan, Colorado School of Mines and Saunders Construction recently cut the ribbon on the new Labriola Innovation Hub building and celebrated the completion of the university’s state-of-the-art hands-on project-based learning and making headquarters — the Labriola Innovation District. The event, which took place on Mines Founders Day, February 9, led to the school’s 150th birthday party. 

The new building is designed by OZ Architecture

Having a dedicated place on campus where students can innovate, prototype, work in teams and develop into future industry leaders was a dream shared by students, alumni, and lead donors Frank ’52 and Mary Labriola. The multi-building district is comprised of a variety of spaces and programs designed to support and encourage students to be innovators and entrepreneurs, including the Labriola Innovation Hub, xWorks Innovation Spaces, and McNeil Hall.

“The Labriola Innovation District further distinguishes Mines among the world’s top universities and is evidence of our commitment to project-based and hands-on learning and developing the next generations of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Mines President Paul C. Johnson. “The physical scale of this investment in innovation and project-based learning is unparalleled, and I can’t wait to see what it unleashes, inspires, and enables. We are incredibly grateful to Frank and Mary Labriola and the others who made this amazing addition to our campus possible.”   

The grand opening celebration took place at 1318 Maple St. in Golden. The Mines community was joined by Johnson and other university leaders in celebrating this addition to the university’s broader E&I ecosystem, with self-guided tours to follow. 

Labriola Innovation Hub 

This 37,000-square-foot building has been called the crown jewel of the Mines E&I ecosystem. It centralizes campus maker spaces, adds specialized classrooms and incorporates much-needed student-project meeting spaces—all outfitted with the latest technology and equipment.  

This building is also the headquarters for the McNeil Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a program established by Denver entrepreneur Charles “Charlie” ’71 and Judy McNeil. It supports early-stage entrepreneurship and innovation programming for students and leads Innov8x design challenges. 

xWorks Innovation Spaces 

Next door to the Labriola Innovation Hub, the xWorks Innovation Spaces include 13 large-scale building bays for larger projects such as the SAE Formula I race car teams and gas-to-electric car conversion senior design projects. It also includes a state-of-the-art Engines & Testing Lab, where students can work on traditional and alternative engine research.   

McNeil Hall 

McNeil Hall houses state-of-the-art project-based learning classrooms, largely dedicated to first-year design challenge classes. It hosted its first classes in September 2020. 

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