The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the College of Engineering’s seventh building, named ELab II, took place on May 7, 2004. The new building with its 57,000 gross feet of space was built to accommodate new labs in both the Chemical Engineering Department and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.
As the college’s 2004 Annual Report described the new building: “Names are not always what they seem,” Mark Twain once observed. “The common Welsh name Bzjxxllwcp is pronounced Jackson.” Nobody would claim that the name of the new 57,000-square-foot, $25-million engineering facility isn’t what it seems. Engineering Laboratory II is a name as solid as the structure’s brick walls. The new structure will house laboratory research and education in chemical as well as civil and environmental engineering.
A lab is to an engineer as a studio was to Picasso or an opera house to Puccini: a perfect place for the creative process to thrive. All the research projects that will be conducted inside the gleaming new lab building are too numerous to list in this small space. But here are a few examples: the employment of supercritical fluids for semiconductor devices; combustion studies; the therapeutic treatment of malignant tumors; the use of plant cell cultures to treat certain types of cancers; safe drinking water; the protection of water resources; proper treatment of wastewater; biological air pollution control; and tracking pathogens and their indicators throughout the country.
Beyond the laboratories that will support all this research activity, ELab II contains graduate office space, computer labs, lounges, a 190-seat lecture hall, and a 40-seat distance-learning classroom, where coursework will be delivered to industrial students throughout the country.