SPOKANE — Gonzaga University plans to construct a $56 million science and engineering facility. In September the Jesuit school held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project, which will add more than 82,000 square feet of labs, classrooms, faculty offices and a studio for collaborative STEM projects. The facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.

Karlene Hoo, dean of the Gonzaga School of Engineering and Applied Science, said the building will allow the university to better serve its growing student body in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math; make students more competitive globally; and equip them with the research skills and experiences to explore real-world problems under faculty or research staff tutelage.

Applications for STEM-related majors at Gonzaga have doubled in the past nine years.