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Published February 14, 2019
With construction substantially complete, personnel from the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) began to move into the brand-new facility Wednesday.
Full access to UW’s newest venue, the Engineering Education and Research Building (EERB), was handed over this week for college faculty and administration. The principal investigators for the various lab spaces can begin moving equipment immediately and will continue to outfit the space over the coming months.
“We’re very proud of this facility and its capabilities, and I believe this will position the CEAS strongly among all engineering schools in the nation,” CEAS Dean Michael Pishko says.
This new facility is located on the north end of the UW campus near 11th and Lewis streets, across Lewis from the existing Engineering Building. After breaking ground in October 2016, the approximately 100,000-square-foot EERB was the most ambitious construction project in the university’s history at a cost of $105 million. Despite being a large-scale project with many variables, the facility was delivered on budget and on time, according to the original plans.
A group of state lawmakers and UW Board of Trustees members took an opportunity to tour the facility Saturday.
“It’s a gorgeous building, and I think it will help attract the talent we really want to Laramie and the university,” says state Sen. Michael Von Flatern. “It’s turned out to be a great investment.”
The state-of-the-art facility will foster innovation and collaboration among students and faculty, and will advance the mission of UW’s Engineering Initiative. The Engineering Initiative and the EERB were prompted by the work of the Wyoming Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force. Former Gov. Matt Mead created the task force in 2012 to address the Legislature’s charge “to lead the university toward a Tier-1 academic and research institution in areas of excellence appropriate for Wyoming.”
The goals of the Engineering Initiative are to elevate the CEAS to national prominence in undergraduate and graduate education and in select areas of research, and to significantly enhance economic development in Wyoming. To this end, the initiative focuses on the strategic goals of excellence in undergraduate education; world-class research and graduate education; productive economic development through partnerships; and K-14 STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math).
“The Engineering Education and Research Building is an important component of strategically advancing engineering at the University of Wyoming,” UW President Laurie Nichols said at the groundbreaking. “Aspiring to the highest levels of engineering excellence means attracting very good faculty and bright, motivated students, and conducting leading research that grows the economy and addresses needs within the state. I am so appreciative of the governor, the state Legislature and donors who invest in the university so we, in turn, can help create a bright future for Wyoming.”
The four-story EERB includes reconfigurable research laboratories; active-learning classrooms; an active-learning wet laboratory; a drilling and completions simulation laboratory; an advanced manufacturing laboratory; student project spaces; a student innovation center; a student entrepreneurship center; informal collaboration spaces; and meeting rooms.
The facility is flexible, with space that can be reprogrammed without major renovation. It is built for collaboration, with space designed to foster student interaction and to support collaborative research teams. It also has space that supports creative thinking and student entrepreneurship.
The facility will bring the sciences at all levels closer together. Its proximity to the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility, the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and the Energy Innovation Center integrates engineering faculty, students and laboratories into undergraduate science education, the geosciences and the School of Energy Resources.
“This is a tremendous investment by the state in our students,” UW Board of Trustees President Dave True says. “We are so fortunate to have the support of the state and have these kinds of facilities. Research is critical but, ultimately, we’re here for the education of students, and this facility will really accentuate that.
“The building’s impact stretches so far beyond Laramie and the university,” True says. “It’s a state facility and will do wonders for Wyoming.”