Murray State University is marking the completion of a science complex 18 years in the making. Coinciding with Homecoming Weekend, the university dedicated on Friday the $35 million Engineering and Physics Building, as part of the Gene Wells Ray Science Campus.
Institute of Engineering Chair Danny Claiborne says the new building will help teach not only theory and analysis, but for students to actually ‘do’ engineering. “And that’s where they actually design it, do the engineering economic analysis on it and then go into the labs and test it and build it and then see if their design actually works," he said.
The 81,000 square-foot facility features a high bay lab, a rapid prototyping center, a fluid mechanics lab and other equipment new to the university.
Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology Dean Steve Cobb said engineering education is more project-oriented now than a decade ago. “Rather than just having classrooms to operate out of, you need laboratory spaces where groups can collaborate, where you can design, build, test and characterize whatever your innovative technology might be,” Cobb said.
The building reflects this with open spaces for student groups to come together across disciplines to work towards solutions.
The state allocated $30 million in funding the building's development. Another $5 million is from private donations. The building contains the engineering physics program and physics program formerly housed in Blackburn.
According to Claiborne, Murray State is the only university in Kentucky that has both an EAC/ABET Accredited program and ETAC Accreditation on the same campus.
Classes in the building began in August. There are more than 550 students in MSU's engineering programs.