Oct 192010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

This spring the university will break ground on its $69 million Engineering II building and student fees will cover $30 million of construction costs, with private donations and gifts covering the rest of the tab.

Money for Engineering II was allocated as part of last year’s student facilities fee increase, which took student contribution from $10 per credit hour per semester to $15 per credit hour every semester.

The approval brought the facilities fee from $300 to $450 annually for the average student taking 15 credit hours per semester.

The 122,000 square foot Engineering II building will replace the parking lot immediately north of Green Hall, where the CSU Police
Department is located, and crews will begin installing water and steam lines around April. The project is slated to take about two years, said Facilities Management Director Brian Chase.

With the additional building comes the establishment of the state’s first-ever biomedical engineering degree program. Kevin Lear, associate director for the School of Biomedical Engineering, said next fall CSU will welcome its first class of students pursuing the degree.

“It’s going to be very helpful to the reputation of CSU engineering in the region and in the nation,” Lear said, adding that it is one of
the only regional offerings of the program.

CSU’s College of Engineering currently offers a certificate in biomedical engineering, which requires 21 credit hours, to students studying in other areas of the college and a master’s and Ph.D program that the university established in 2007.

Students entering the new undergraduate program will spend five years at CSU studying biomedical engineering and either chemical and biological engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering –– meaning they will graduate with two Bachelor’s of Science degrees.

“Sometimes the students come out and have a broad education, but not the rigorous, deeper knowledge and practical training employers are looking for,” Lear said.

The five-year plan, which has students graduating qualified in two areas of engineering, was advised by the types of companies and organizations students leaving the program would seek jobs with, he added.

Lear said the School of Biomedical Engineering is made up of individuals from concentrations all over campus. For example, he said, the school’s director, Stu Tobet, is a neurobiologist and his discipline falls in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“When you go into that building you’ll be interacting with many different majors,” Lear said.

He added the space will serve as a collaboration hub for on-campus individuals to work with those who traditionally work out at the
Foothills Campus laboratories. It will add more teaching laboratories for faculty and students to work across colleges and
departments and increase the overall space available for engineering research.

“Engineering space is very tight right now,” Lear said. “But with the new building there will be much more shared space.”

Chase said the university would aim for LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. To qualify for Gold the building must score between 39 and 51 on a point scale, which grades on categories like water efficiency, material and resources, energy and atmosphere and indoor environmental quality.

LEED certification ranges from Silver to Gold to Platinum based on this point system and most new CSU buildings weigh in at Gold.

News Editor Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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