Mar 212011
 
Authors: Allison Knaus

Due to the fact that undergraduate enrollment for the College of Engineering has increased 27 percent in the last five years, the COE is looking to accommodate its growing program with a new research facility: the Engineering II building.
The project, which is slated to open by the fall 2013 semester, has been estimated to cost from $58 million to $69 million and has already begun early construction. The ceremonial groundbreaking is slated for April 14.

Funding for the building rests on $30 million of students fees, bonds backed by research, additional university funding and another planned $27 million collected from fundraising.

Due to the construction and location of the building, students and Fort Collins residents could be inconvenienced by the closure of cross-streets for the next two years.

The 122,000 square-foot building will be located at the corner of Laurel Street and Meridian Avenue just north of Green Hall and will feature three floors dedicated to student achievement, research and laboratory space.

Starting mid-May, Meridian Avenue will be closed from Laurel Street to West Plum Street and vehicles will be unable to travel north on University Drive while approaching the Hartshorn Health Center building. Road closures will remain until construction is complete in April 2013 or until builders feel safety is no longer a risk factor.

CSU’s facilities management director, Brain Chase, said major road closures near the building site are necessary for safety issues.

Heavy congestion at Meridian Avenue and other intersecting streets puts pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists at risk with construction nearby and presents a huge safety concern, Chase said.

Excavation of the project will begin post graduation-time in May where major construction will be underway.
CSU’s Director for Finance and Transportation Services, Ginger Wright explained how students’ money for projects on campus is only used for academic purposes.

“The Engineering II construction will address the needs of many student and faculty,” Wright said.

The Dean of the College of Engineering, Sandra Woods, explained how beneficial Engineering II would be for a college who’s increased research and student interest deems the current space used as unable to provide all the needed amenities.

Currently, the College of Engineering occupies three-fifths of the Engineering building and Glover for student facilities while primary research and laboratory space is off-campus. Engineering II will essentially double the space the college has.

“We are so excited and grateful for students’ contribution to the programs,” Woods said.

Unusual to most buildings on campus, Engineering II will integrate all engineering departments by mixing students and faculty into research pods depending on the area of issue. Whether it’s human health, environment or energy, the research pods will bring together faculty from different discipline areas to solve important problems.

While Engineering II will primarily accommodate its own college, a 24-hour study atrium space on the first floor will be open to all CSU students in efforts to give back to the funding students contributed.

“The construction of Engineering II means so much to our college; we are extremely grateful for students’ giving us the ability to help make the project a reality,” Woods said.

Staff writer Allison Knaus can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:03 pm

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