SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah officials broke ground last week for a $22 million chemistry building that will house a complex of world-class equipment and researchers.

The Thatcher Building for Biological and Biophysical Chemistry will house several mass spectrometers to analyze chemicals, an entire floor for advanced undergraduate teaching laboratories, new organic and biochemical synthesis labs, imaging and spectroscopy equipment and a new home for the theoretical chemistry program.

The building is designed by VCBO Architects and will be built by Okland Construction.

Funding is supported in part by an $8 million grant by the National Institutes of Health. The 41,000-square-foot building is named in honor of the Lawrence E. and Helen F. Thatcher family of Salt Lake City, who financially supported its construction.

The Thatcher family's involvement in the chemical industry dates back to Nathan D. "Dee" Thatcher Jr., who co-founded Wasatch Chemical Co. in the early 1900s.

The building is located southwest of the Henry Eyring Building. Construction is expected to be completed by spring 2013.