Engineering to get new research facilities

9:12:19 AM CDT - Thursday, November 03, 2005

By Joe Kleinsasser

Years of talk about a new engineering facility have finally turned into action, and the result will be the new Engineering Research Laboratory Building in the courtyard south of Wallace Hall and east of the Engineering Building.

Work started Oct. 10 on the first of two buildings that will provide new research space for the College of Engineering.

Engineering Building
Courtesy of McCluggage Van Sickle & Perry
This is the architect's rendering of what the new engineering research building will look like when completed. Completion is expected February 2007.
"The first new building will provide about 28,000 square feet of laboratory space that will help to solve the problem of crowded labs and insufficient research space," said Skip Loper, associate vice president for research.

All four engineering departments aerospace, electrical and computer, industrial and manufacturing, and mechanical will have laboratory space in the new building. The building design is very open and flexible, allowing for changes in the kind of research that can be conducted as the needs of potential clients change, Loper said.

The new building is Phase I of a two-part project, according to John Gist, director of facilities planning. The current project is a two-level 44,700-square-foot building. Completion is expected in February 2007.

Phase II is tentatively scheduled to begin in early 2007. Plans are still being finalized for the second building, to be built west of the National Institute for Aviation Research. The second facility will house a structural testing laboratory and other testing and research facilities in a single-story building.

"The new labs will permit engineering faculty and NIAR personnel to take on more externally funded research projects, and involve more students, both undergraduate and graduate students, in that research," said Loper.

"Industries in the areas of materials, communications and manufacturing should benefit from the increased capabilities of these new labs when they come to WSU for research and testing."

The new buildings are being funded by 20-year bonds issued by the state of Kansas. The state will pay about one-fourth of the principal and interest on the bonds, according to Loper. WSU is responsible for the remainder, much of which will come from direct and indirect costs associated with externally funded research.

The cost of constructing the first building will be slightly more than $5.7 million. The construction contract was awarded to Conco Construction Inc.

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