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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Groundbreaking for USI’s Business and Engineering Center was held in July

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A groundbreaking ceremony for the University of Southern Indiana’s new Business and Engineering Center was held on July 10, at the southwest corner of the USI Quadrangle next to the Technology Center.

The 122,500 square foot Business and Engineering Center will serve both business and engineering programs interdependently, providing dedicated and shared classroom and laboratory space. Funding of the $31.9 million building was approved by the General Assembly with supplemental support of $2 million raised by business and private contributions for programmatic needs.

Architect's rendering of the Business and Engineering Center.

Situated between the Technology Center and the Liberal Arts Center and facing the University Center, the four-story addition to the campus will complete the USI Quadrangle, along with the David L. Rice Library.

The building will promote collaboration between faculty and students in the College of Business and the Pott College of Science and Engineering and support integration between business, technology, and engineering with a goal of increasing innovation and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Scott Gordon, dean of the Pott College, said, “The co-location of business and engineering in this facility was purposeful. We are living in a science and technology-based economy where collaboration in design, development, marketing, and business planning is a necessity. We’re going to give students the experience of being involved in a product from design to development to marketing to sales.”

The Business and Engineering Center will include two engineering teaching computer labs, three business teaching computer labs, and one shared computer lab. There will be two business labs, 15 engineering labs, four business classrooms, three engineering classrooms, one general classroom, two tiered classrooms, and offices for 92 faculty members.

Dr. Mohammed Khayum, dean of the College of Business, said, “The new building will be a tremendous addition to our campus. It will allow us to enhance the educational experiences of our students with some of the most advanced learning support environments.”

Engineering-specific spaces include an environmental engineering lab, vibrations lab (a lab that tests the effect vibrations such as earthquakes and sound waves have on various materials), computer-aided drawing (CAD) labs, biomechanics lab, fluid mechanics lab, heat/thermodynamics lab, communications lab, digital systems lab, optics/modern physics lab and classroom, power and machines lab and classroom, surveying lab, materials testing lab, a design center, and a reserved rooftop antennae space for communications experiments.

Specialized spaces for the business curriculum include a set of sales suites, a decision support/negotiations lab, a project management lab, a Web development lab, a computer hardware/software lab, an entrepreneurship lab, a sales lab, a stock market simulation room, and a lecture hall.

Signature features of the building include an atrium, a central area connecting all floors in the building with a monumental stair; a 52-seat board room on the third floor; and the Lakeside Study Lounge and Balcony, offering views of Reflection Lake from an enclosed outdoor space at the lower level as well as a balcony on the second floor.

“Green” elements were included in the design as well. The building incorporates extensive day lighting of interior spaces. Light fixtures are controlled by sensors and time clocks. All mechanical and electrical systems are designed to conserve energy use. Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems incorporate fresh air intakes, flexible control systems for maximum comfort, and variable frequency drive motors which utilize more or less power based on need. There will be a “green” or living roof above the mechanical room. Construction and finish materials are sustainable.

Hafer Associates, PC, is the project architect, mechanical and electrical engineer. St. Louis-based Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK) is associate architect and designer.

The Businesses and Engineering Center is expected to be complete in 2010.

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