Skip to Main Navigation. Each navigation link will open a list of sub navigation links.

Skip to Main Content

Apply to the University of Wyoming apply now

Global Resource Navigation

Visit Campus
Download UW Viewbook
Give to UW
Menu

The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming


About UWyo

Advertise

Subscribe

UWyo Archives

Contact Us

UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

UWyo Magazine

January 2015 | Vol. 16, No. 2

A conceptual rendering of the engineering building expansion—the additional spaces will create a learning and discovery continuum that promotes innovation and creativity, offering an integrated approach to education and research.

Foundation for Success

New facilities to support the College of Engineering and Applied Science will create the infrastructure for excellence in education, research and service.

By Micaela Myers

A new era is dawning for the University of Wyoming College of Engineering  and Applied Science (CEAS)—an age that will elevate the college to new heights of excellence in education, research and service. Guided by the Wyoming Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force and CEAS leadership, the Tier-1 Engineering Initiative was born. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.) A complex of facilities—which includes the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility, the Energy Innovation Center, the future High Bay Research Facility planned for the east campus, and a new Engineering Building north of Lewis Street—will provide the necessary infrastructure for growth.


The Tier-1 Dream

“I think the whole idea behind the Tier-1 dream for engineering is really creating a program, facilities and environment that turns out world-class undergraduate engineers, that has top-tier graduate programs, that has research that matters to the state of Wyoming and to global industry, and that has a fantastic K–14 pipeline of future scientists and engineers across the state,” says Thomas Botts, co-chair of the task force and a CEAS graduate. The retired executive vice president of global manufacturing for Royal Dutch Shell, Botts is a board director for EnPro Industries Inc. and Wood Group.

State Sen. Phil Nicholas, also a member of the task force, played an integral role in getting the initiative off the ground. As the father of four UW engineering graduates and a senator with many constituents in the college, he knew the Engineering Building needed upgrading and expanding. He also knew that a strong engineering program is good for Wyoming’s economy. “We always hear from our constituents that the No. 1 priority is jobs, the economy and economic diversification,” he says. Many new Wyoming businesses are university spinoffs. “If we can generate more industry out of the university, we can improve our economic development and our diversification. We’ve got to have a strong engineering program in order to do that.” He adds that the state also needs more engineers.

With tremendous support from Nicholas, the Legislature approved funding for the new Engineering Building, which has become a primary driving force for the Tier-1 Engineering Initiative, inspired by the success of UW’s School of Energy Resources (SER).

“I believe the Tier-1 initiative grew out of what we’ve been doing at SER,” says SER Director Mark Northam. “We developed a concept that we could advance our reputation and contributions in the energy sector by aligning our work with the needs of the state and becoming excellent in select strategic areas. Gov. Matt Mead recognized that in order for us to be completely successful, engineering was at the heart of all of this.”

“All of it came together and created a Tier-1 effort looking at how we take CEAS and develop niches of excellence that will rise the tide for all the departments and all the faculty,” Nicholas says.

“A large part of the state’s economy is built on energy, so having the university be an engine leading the way on energy education and research will help us maximize the value of the tremendous natural resources we have in this state. But the Tier-1 effort is not just about energy—it’s about the whole college,” Botts says.

“The Tier-1 initiative is an incredible opportunity for the college and the university as a whole,” says UW Tier-1 Engineering Initiative Program Coordinator Richard Horner. “One of its sole purposes is to create integrated, diverse research teams from across CEAS and other colleges. Another important integration concept is that we will work with external bodies, particularly government agencies and industry, to achieve goals that one or the other of us could not achieve alone.”

“CEAS graduates will be well prepared for the work-force,” says CEAS Interim Dean Al Rodi. “Having experience with modern techniques and faculty who are working on current problems is really the name of the game. There’s a definite relationship between quality instruction and research activity.”  The Tier-1 Engineering Initiative is underpinned by four strategic pillars: excellence in undergraduate education, world-class research and graduate education, productive economic development through partnerships, and K–14 STEM education, all of which you can learn more about in this issue of UWyo Magazine.  “We have the opportunity and resources to help us achieve these goals—support that is unprecedented on a national level,” Rodi says.

In order to achieve this growth, UW needs additional labs, research spaces and classrooms: Enter the High Bay Research Facility, Engineering Building expansion, and the new Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility.


High Bay Research Facility

“CEAS finds it difficult to do research on large projects because there’s no space,” Nicholas says. “There are modern technology needs, power needs and vibration-isolation needs.”

“Good research faculty have needs that grow over time,” Northam adds. “For some of our key programs, what we’ve decided to do is get out in front of that and build a laboratory facility that is characterized by sufficient space and capacity.”

Built in partnership with SER, CEAS and the Department of Geology and Geophysics, the High Bay Research Facility will be located on north 19th Street near the UW Centennial Complex, with completion anticipated in 2016. It will contain approximately 90,000 square feet of traditional and high-bay research laboratories, offices and meeting areas.

“The goal of the High Bay Research Facility project is to design spaces that are modular and that can be repurposed or expanded down the road if necessary,” says Project Manager Krista Laursen. “The east wing is true high-bay space with tall, 22-foot ceilings so that an overhead crane can move equipment in and out.”

From a funding standpoint, what makes the facility unique is the public-private investment. “Our partners are private-sector partners that want that research done, including research into flow through porous media, improved oil recovery and geomechanics,” Northam says.

UW raised $15 million through corporate partnerships, matched by a $15 million appropriation from the Legislature, to complete funding to build the facility. In the 2014 Wyoming legislative session, the governor and the Legislature set aside an additional $10.5 million to match investments for technology and equipment, and contributions against those funds are in the final stages of commitment. (See the “Industry Collaboration” sidebar for details.)

“New technology is key to our continued growth,” says Greg Hill, president and chief operating officer of Hess Corp. and co-chair of the task force. “Our work with UW and the Hess Digital Rock Physics Lab will fundamentally change our understanding of oil and gas production from unconventional resources and lead to the development of more efficient and effective recovery techniques.”

“We will have capacity to accommodate multiple principal investigators who are the best in the world,” Northam says. “The thing that will attract them here is that they will have access to experimental and computational facilities that can’t be duplicated anywhere else.”

“The work that’s going to come out of the new research facilities and the whole program is going to make a huge difference in the nation’s energy security,” Botts adds.


Engineering Building Expansion

A new building will be added north of Lewis Street behind the present CEAS buildings. The $106 million project is the largest single capital project in UW history. The majority will come from state appropriations, with additional funds raised from private donations.

“During initial planning, priority-one areas were identified as the spaces that enable undergraduate and graduate education,” Laursen says. “We also need to provide expanded, transformative research capabilities.”

“The current Engineering Building doesn’t have readily made collaboration spaces where students from difference disciplines can work together,” Horner says. “New spaces will allow for integrated learning in a modern context.”

The building will include an auditorium and flexible spaces to accommodate future growth.


Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility

“Some of our labs on campus are running up to 12 hours a day,” says Bryan Shader, professor of mathematics and a member of the Enzi STEM Facility planning committee.

State-of-the art labs and additional teaching space were needed, with a goal of bringing students and professors from the STEM fields together. “The building has the capacity of 900 students per class period, so we’re going to see a lot of activity once programs are up to speed,” says Merl Haworth, associate director of facilities planning. “The building includes a large atrium and common space for the students to gather.”

The custom-designed labs were purpose-built to meet modern needs. “Physics and astronomy designed some of their space to support studio labs,” Shader says. “The chemists have set up their spaces so that they’ll have an experimental lab next to an analysis lab.”

Active learning labs for mathematics include group tables with touchscreens where the students can work together and show their solutions, and the professors can then share up to four student screens on a larger monitor. “The goal is that once a week, all of our first-year and sophomore students will actively engage with hands-on math together,” Shader says. “Research shows that students understand concepts better through active engagement. Persistence to graduation follows. When these students are actively engaged, they get excited about what they’re doing.”

One room of the facility is devoted to training elementary math teachers, complete with the math learning tools that teachers will later use in their own classrooms. Science will be on display throughout the facility, with interactive displays and science-themed artwork. Glass walls wherever possible also place science on display, and group rooms encourage student collaboration. The public will be welcome in the Enzi STEM Facility, including school field trips, speakers and events.

Ready for classes in fall of 2015, the 100,000-square-foot facility is home to 32 laboratories geared toward basic science and math courses. “Every student who comes through the Laramie campus is going to go through the STEM building, and every student should leave that with a positive experience,” Shader says.

Each of these new buildings adds an important foundation upon which the Tier-1 initiative can grow, propelling UW to new heights in excellence in education, research and service.

Industry Collaboration

The University of Wyoming has a proven track record of working with the energy industry to deliver successful solutions to today’s challenges. These partnerships have played a strategic role in funding the High Bay Research Facility, and UW extends its utmost gratitude for these partnerships.

Share This Page:

The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming


About UWyo

Advertise

Subscribe

UWyo Archives

Contact Us

UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Twitter Icon Youtube Icon Instagram Icon Facebook Icon

Accreditation | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Gainful Employment | Privacy Policy | Accessibility Accessibility information icon