The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved the system’s capital plan, which includes a 600,000 square foot complex dedicated to undergraduate engineering education at Texas A&M University, a key component in the Dwight Look College of Engineering’s effort to transform engineering education through its 25 by 25 initiative.
“This building will be a centerpiece of our 25 by 25 initiative and embodies a progressive approach toward maximizing our facilities and resources to deliver the highest quality education possible,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the A&M System.
The futuristic, technology-integrated facility will be a departure from traditional classrooms and lecture halls by focusing on student-centered design to optimize modern learning techniques and technology, and is expected to be unlike any other facility of its kind in the nation.
Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering, said, “First, we are not simply doubling our footprint; we will maximize space through flexible design, remote learning and 24/7 accessibility. Second, this will be the most connected and technology-adaptable facility of its kind. Lastly, and most importantly, this state-of-the-art complex will provide our students with the educational home needed to reach their potential as engineers and computer scientists.”
Dedicated to creating an innovative learning environment, the building will feature flexible classrooms, design and fabrication shared-use laboratories, collaborative space, tutoring services and will be the hub of undergraduate engineering education at Texas A&M University.
“Through the blending of remote learning and innovative facility use, this building dramatically increases our economical use of space on campus, which ultimately supports our efforts to keep tuition affordable for our students and their parents,” said Phil Adams, chair of the Board of Regents.
Funding for the building is being supported by public funds and private donations, with the majority of support required for the project already committed.
“This building represents a true partnership among a number of stakeholders,” said R. Bowen Loftin, Texas A&M University president. “From the current students who gave a gift of $1 million, to our former students who have committed more than $30 million in just six months, to state government, industry and friends of the university; support for this project has been overwhelming.”
The Look College gained national attention when it announced its bold growth initiative in January to increase enrollment to 25,000 engineering students by 2025, more than doubling the enrollment of the third-largest engineering program in the nation. The initiative focuses on improving education and cost efficiency through technology integration and better utilization of facilities and resources.
“Engineering is a rapidly evolving discipline,” Banks said. “We are creating an environment that fosters innovation and discovery, while remaining flexible enough to transform as technology advances. Our goal is to revolutionize engineering education and this building is a critical component of that lofty aspiration.”
Construction of the Engineering Education Complex is expected to begin in 2014.