New and renovated buildings are changing the landscape of the UT Arlington Campus. UT Arlington Magazine spoke with College of Engineering Dean Bill Carroll about the construction projects and their impact.
Tell us about the Engineering Research Complex.
It’s a $116 million project that will add more than 220,000 square feet of space to the University’s facility inventory. It will provide office, laboratory, conference room and teaching facilities for Bioengineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and the College of Science. The Engineering Research Building (ERB) is being designed with the intent to meet LEED silver standards and will have many environmentally friendly features, including green roofs and systems to capture rainwater for irrigating the landscape. Construction will begin in July and will be completed in early 2011. The ERB and Engineering Lab Building (ELB) expansion projects are being combined with the development of pedestrian walks to the east of Nedderman Hall and south of the ELB to form the Engineering Research Complex and the Engineering Quad. This will completely transform the north side of campus and make it one of the most appealing and attractive areas on any campus.
What other projects are planned?
We have the Civil Engineering Laboratory Building, which has been under construction since January 2008 and is scheduled for completion this fall. It will contain about 27,000 square feet and will house labs relocated from the first floor of the Engineering Lab Building, plus growth space for the Department of Civil Engineering.
Another project involves adding a third floor to the ELB and renovating about half of the first floor. The first-floor renovation will provide space for the materials characterization laboratory operated by the Materials Science and Engineering Department, plus research and teaching laboratory space for the departments of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, and Bioengineering.
The third floor will provide office and research laboratory space for Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering. The third floor will add approximately 27,000 square feet. Construction is scheduled to start in July and will last about a year.
Isn't one of the new buildings off campus?
The Center for Structural Engineering Research will be an iconic building on the northeast corner of Interstate 30 and MacArthur Boulevard in Grand Prairie near the Hanson Pipe and Precast manufacturing plant. It will support research and testing of full-scale components of structures such as bridges, buildings and airframes. It will be one of the largest such facilities in the world and will feature an 18,000-square-foot reaction floor. We’re in the final stages of fundraising and hope to start construction by the end of this year.
How important are these projects?
They represent the first major expansion of facilities for the College of Engineering in 20 years and will enable us to provide world-class learning and research experiences for students and faculty. This will enable us to better serve the needs of the region, state and nation and produce new technologies that foster economic development. Our facilities will be second to none—and in many cases unique—once these projects are completed.
What new relationships will UT Arlington forge?
We will certainly be in a position to attract support from a wider range of industries and to be more competitive for federal grant funds. Opportunities for collaboration with industry, federal laboratories and other universities on joint research projects will be expanded.
What will be the impact on this region and beyond?
Currently, we are the largest and most comprehensive engineering school in North Texas. My expectation is that these projects will spur enrollment increases that will subsequently enable us to produce even more engineering graduates to meet the engineering work force needs of industry and government agencies in the region and across the state. We will also be able to offer new specialty areas and new programs.
How will this progress impact the College of Engineering's reputation?
I believe these facilities will position us to attain a top-50 ranking among U.S. colleges and schools of engineering within a few years after their completion.
— Herb Booth
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