West Virginia University officials and friends broke ground for the new Advanced Engineering Research Building Thursday (Sept. 27) but, more than a brick and mortar structure, the group opened a portal to discovery.
The building, in an early phase of construction across from the Evansdale Library, will be a hub of research and education, not only from all disciplines of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, but from other areas of the campus.
The facility is expected to open in 2014 and will house offices, classrooms, computer classrooms, a learning center and graduate student space as well as a clean room to meet the needs of high-technology learning and discovery.
“When we open the doors of this new building in late 2014,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College, “it will become a beacon that will call students and faculty from all disciplines to come together to solve the technical problems of today and tomorrow.
“Those problems will be the ones that society faces today in energy, water, cyber security, life sciences and health care but we will also be addressing the challenges of the future,” he said.
Along with Cilento, speakers at the event included WVU President Jim Clements; Statler; Cerasela-Zoica Dinu, assistant professor of chemical engineering; and Cody White, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering and Russian studies.
Clements said the new facility will build on the University’s original land-grant mission and fulfill several strategic goals, including building a world-class energy research program; providing students with a top-notch educational and research experience in science and engineering; and helping faculty and students pursue research that addresses critical national issues, from energy to sustainability, to security.
“This building will be a game-changer,” Clements said. “It will help our talented faculty propel WVU to new heights of international leadership in engineering and energy research.”
Statler and his wife, Jo, both natives of Monongalia County, pledged $34 million to the College and the engineering school was renamed in their honor earlier this year. Part of that gift, made through the WVU Foundation’s A State of Minds campaign, is being used to construct the building.
Ben Statler told the audience Thursday, “History can be made with buildings but buildings don’t make history. Bricks and mortar won’t do research. Steel and glass won’t discover new technologies. That will be done by you.”
The groundbreaking follows on the heels of the dedication of the Evansdale Greenhouse, which occurred earlier this month. The greenhouse is a component of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. The new engineering building and greenhouse are part of WVU’s multi-year, $159.5 million building plan that is remaking the Evansdale campus.
CONTACT: Mary Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
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