UM-Dearborn celebrates the groundbreaking of new Engineering Lab Building

Tony England has good reason to be excited. As the dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, England gets to take part in what could be a transformative moment for the university: The construction of a new Engineering Lab Building.

A $90 million project, groundbreaking for the new Engineering Lab Building, or ELB, was celebrated this past Friday, April 20. England expects an opening date of May 2020.

For Tony England, a new Engineering Lab Building was long overdue. The original ELB was one of the oldest buildings on campus. And while it was designed well, it was designed well for 50 years ago. UM-D and its students need a modern building with modern amenities, says England.

All in all, through a combination of demolition, new construction, and partial renovations, the Engineering Lab Building will have grown from 93,000 sq. ft. to 123,000 sq. ft. of modern applications.

"Even though the building is a third larger, because of the flexibility built in, it will service twice as many students as the old building did," says England.

Once opened, the new ELB will have collaborative spaces, hybrid classrooms, and adaptable labs. Clean rooms, essential to contemporary engineering, weren’t available at the old building, and students would have to travel to the Ann Arbor campus to access them. The new ELB will have those, as well.

The new ELB is the biggest of three improvements to the College of Engineering and Computer Science. A student project center was finished in 2016 and a prototyping building in the fall of 2017.

"These upgrades will make our facilities comparable to any modern engineering college of our size in the country," says England.

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Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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