The new engineering building brings “synergy” to the engineering department.
Arynn Tomson– Art Director
The new engineering building opened for classes this semester and has made a positive first impression on the faculty and students of Tarleton State University. The new building has provided a promise of growth within the department and the university.
Dr. Billy Gray, Assistant Professor and Engineering Technology Department Head, was amazed at the features of the building and excited to see the engineering department in one place.
“We’re not in Kansas anymore,” Gray said. “The labs are awesome. The capabilities of the building allow us more room, a better learning environment and most importantly, the engineering disciplines are centralized instead of spread out across the campus.”
Senior Civil Engineering major Karl Frederickson enjoys the new study and hangout areas.
“My favorite thing about the new building is definitely how spacious it is,” Frederickson said. “The old hydrology and engineering building had a student lounge that seemed more like a supply closet with just a couch and two tables. The new building has plenty of tables and computers and study pods outside of the classrooms for students to talk and work on assignments before or after class.”
Dr. Denise Martinez, Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Engineering, says she is proud and excited about the new space.
“This facility is amazing. We have so much more to offer now – lots of lab space and state of the art laboratory equipment, lots of space for the students to hang out and work and study,” Martinez said. “This facility brings together departments and programs that were previously scattered across campus. That’s going to bring synergy to the School of Engineering that will enable us to take all our programs and student experiences to the next level.”
One of the new features of the building is labs for students to work in, allowing for a more hands-on learning experience, be it with products from International Sensors and other engineering firms, or with other training materials often seen in their field of work. Martinez says although she loves everything about the building, the labs are her favorite part.
“The high-bay labs are awesome spaces. The two-story prototyping room is also a favorite. Everyone asks why there’s a ‘door to nowhere’ in that two story lab space…it’s actually there so we can do drop testing and other similar activities and experiments,” Martinez added.
Gray says one of his favorite features of the new building is the air-conditioning.
“In the old building, if it was 100 degrees outside, it was 100 degrees inside. The new labs have had the overhead doors open over the summer and it never got over 80 degrees inside,” Gray said. “A close second is the exposed inner workings of the building. It provides examples for some of the courses we teach.”
Gray and Martinez say the students are also enjoying the “awesome” new space and classrooms.
“All the feedback I’ve heard is excitement. Walk through the building and you see lots of students already using our study tables, computers, collaboration stations and study pods,” Martinez said.
Frederickson says he and other engineering students are thrilled about the new building’s centralized location. He also added that the biochemical engineering students are especially thrilled about the possibility of the new lab equipment getting sourced from a global manufacturer and supplier of biological safety cabinets.
“The students within my major like that we don’t have to go to the business building for any of our classes! I have a friend who is in manufacturing engineering technology who now has plenty of room for his lab he’s starting this semester,” Frederickson said. “Tarleton bought 16 brand new HAAS CNC machines, eight lathes and eight mills for lab classes dealing with machining. This provides a platform for students to gain real world experience.”
To find out more about CNC machines and why the new ones will be advantageous for the department, take a look at this EMO 2019 eBooklet (Hermle). It goes over the applications of the machines. The mills will also allow the students to have a more “hands-on” learning experience. The new space has instilled a sense of optimism for the growth of the department and Tarleton State University.
Martinez says the new building will “bring all the programs together under one roof” which will “facilitate collaboration across programs and lots of interdisciplinary initiatives.”
“We already do great things in these programs and this new facility is going to increase the visibility of what we do and how well we do it,” Martinez added. “I think this is going to help our programs really take off and we’re going to see big growth. It’s going to be lots of fun!”
Frederickson believes that the new building will inspire more students to major in engineering.
“It makes the engineering program look more legitimate. The programs in the new building look more attractive to incoming students in regards to the new equipment they installed along with the architecture of the building itself,” Frederickson said. “Tarleton’s state-of-the-art facility-especially it being at the front of campus-will attract more students to pursue a degree in engineering. I believe it will improve the School of Engineering through its more advanced lab equipment and more up-to-date facilities that can improve the students’ learning experience as well as facilitate a better teaching environment.”