The vision for the SEB began to take shape more than a decade ago as community and state leaders, including then-Gov. Kenny Guinn, key legislators, and members of the Nevada Development Authority and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, identified economic diversification as one of the state’s top priorities. They highlighted the need to provide additional space for the education of a highly sophisticated workforce and for research on new technologies with commercialization potential that would support a more diverse Nevada economy. In the meantime, enrollment growth had placed heavy demands on UNLV’s engineering and sciences colleges. It became clear a new science and engineering facility would be critical to the future of UNLV and Nevada.
University, government, and the private-sector representatives recognized a shared interest in building such a facility and began to commit time and resources to advocating it. Support for the new building expanded, and it moved from the university’s wish list to the top of the state’s planning and construction project list. The building was approved by the 2001-03 Nevada Legislature, construction started in 2005, and was completed in 2009. A phased move-in and commissioning of equipment started in early 2009 and was completed in late 2009. The building was dedicated Sept. 11, 2011 by then-President Neal Smatresk.