New Laboratory Built for Hands-On Experience

Jessie Hellmann

Construction on a 16,000 square foot $2.4 million teaching laboratory specifically for engineering starts students this fall.

Construction bids will be received for the Advanced Manufacturing Teaching facility on Aug. 25, and the construction could start in mid- to late- September said Mark Rozewski, USI vice president for Business Affairs. The expected completion date is fall 2012.

The laboratory’s location will be adjacent to the Physical Plant and Support Services Center on the east side of campus. The lab is a one-story building with steel frame construction on a concrete foundation.

Upon completion, students majoring in advanced manufacturing, industrial supervision and engineering can use this lab for hands on experience, using what they have learned in the classroom to apply it in real life situations.

The laboratory will house equipment the university bought with three federal grants that total to about $2.5 million.

The equipment will teach engineering students how to operate factories and computer controlled manufacturing and robotics equipment, said Rosewski.

Head of the Engineering Department Zane Mitchell said the laboratory will give students more hands on capabilities as far as being able build projects they design.

“I think it’s going to be a great resource for our students, and it’s going to better prepare them to enter the manufacturing and engineering jobs that are here locally in Evansville,” said Mitchell.

Rosewski expects the laboratory to strengthen the engineering department, which currently totals to about 300 students.

“We already have a major in industrial supervision and I think it’s (the laboratory) going to make that major even larger in the terms of the number of students and so it strengthens our engineering program on campus,” Rosewski said.

The construction of the laboratory will not disrupt daily campus life.

Rosewski said the laboratory will not be connected to the academic quad because the lab will generate a lot of truck traffic to supply materials for students to work on, and the students will generate a lot of waste.

“Most people will be completely unaware of the construction going on,” he said, “Most people won’t even know where this building is on campus.”

Because of the laboratory’s unnoticeable location, it will be very plain.

“In general it’s an incredibly inexpensive per square foot, and fairly plain building because it’s not in the center of campus where it needs to be terribly attractive,” Rosewski said. 

Rosewski said because there are so many manufacturing facilities in Evansville, students studying Industrial supervision at USI will benefit Evansville in the long run.