MINNEAPOLIS - New labs at the University of Minnesota are helping students build their ideas and prepare for careers in science and engineering.

The College of Science and Engineering's Anderson Student Innovation Labs feature 10,000-square-feet of hands-on learning spaces for students.

Students have been using the spaces and new equipment since mid-October but the college officially unveiled the labs on Thursday.

"There really hasn't been a facility like this for students to be able to build their ideas," said Will Durfee, a CSE professor.

Two of the Anderson Student Innovation Labs are located in the Mechanical Engineering Building and one is in the Civil Engineering Building.

The labs include the largest bank of 3D printers on campus, laser cutters, a water-jet cutter and other state-of-the-art equipment.

It's helping Allison Enterline, a junior studying aerospace engineering, build rockets. She's on the U of M Rocket Team.

"After being able to test our materials, we're going to have more accurate simulations and we're going to be able to kind of come up with algorithms and procedures to manufacture our body tubes and before that it was all kind of like guess and check," Enterline said.

Before the Anderson labs opened, students had little access to the equipment they are now using.

"With this space, it really offered a lot more accessibility to things I didn't have before. So like 3D printing and laser cutting and just a place to work on homework and meet with people to talk about different projects," said Chase Christen, a sophomore working on the U of M Solar Vehicle Project.

Professor Durfee added, "So when you have that kind of environment, then you see these devices used all of the time."

The project cost about $2 million and was funded with the help of Clifford and Nancy Anderson. The labs are named in their honor.