Georgia Southern University hosted Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and other key partners Wednesday for the groundbreaking of a new, 135,000-square-foot engineering and research building designed to inspire engineering innovation through education and strategic partnerships.
“The engineering and research building allows greater opportunities for Georgia Southern to collaborate with area companies on groundbreaking research,” said Georgia Southern President Shelley C. Nickel.
The sleek, contemporary building on Georgia Southern’s Statesboro campus has been strategically designed to facilitate academic and institutional partnerships that will benefit companies across the state, inspire creative engineering solutions and accelerate student success.
Nickel recognized Gov. Nathan Deal and local industry partners for leading those efforts that reinforce the University’s commitment to ensuring students excel not only in the classroom but also in their preparation for the workforce with practical learning in laboratories, co-ops and internships.
“Our new engineering and research building will be a showcase for these efforts,” said Nickel. “We expect the result of the work here will strengthen existing companies in the area, help attract new industry and add to the reputation of a state that is ready, willing and able to be business-friendly.”
Deal’s fiscal year 2019 state budget included $49.9 million in construction for the new facility.
“Technology rapidly changes the landscape in every field and manufacturing is no exception,” said Deal. “As the No. 1 state for business for six consecutive years, Georgia enjoys thriving manufacturing and engineering sectors and we are continuing to invest in resources that will help us maintain this distinction. With a strong focus on manufacturing engineering and civil engineering, the engineering and research building here at Georgia Southern will provide those who study here with the knowledge and skills to shape the economy of the future. We look forward to the completion of this project, and seeing its impact on our state in the years to come.”
Intended for the university’s manufacturing, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering programs, the new building will house conference center, configurable, meeting and learning spaces, including 21 instructional research labs and 25 academic learning spaces. The research facilities in the engineering and research building are designed to support the manufacturing infrastructure in Georgia.
The building will feature some of the most cutting-edge technology the university has ever offered to students. In addition to flexible research spaces, the building includes labs for robotics and automated manufacturing, nano materials manufacturing, traditional and CNC machining and finishing, materials science and characterization, industrial instrumentation and controls, joining and welding, renewable energy roof decks, and metal and non-metal 3D manufacturing spaces. The labs will allow students to develop high-level skills on the latest machinery that industry leaders use every day. The building is a real-world laboratory where students will learn problem-solving, creative thinking and high-value skills with top-notch faculty mentors who have years of experience in research and practice.
“Bridging theory and practice, this new state-of-the-art facility will provide access to advanced technologies that will prepare students to meet the changing needs of the industry and the training to meet the demands of the workforce of today and tomorrow,” said Mohammad S. Davoud, Ph.D., P.E., dean of the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing.
The engineering and research building will be situated on the Statesboro campus on the corner of Forest Drive and Akins Boulevard. The design professional firm is Stevenson & Wilkinson. The construction firm is JE Dunn Construction and the program manager is BDR Partners.
Additional speakers for the ceremony included State Senator Jack Hill and Dan Nale, Ph.D., Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Senior Vice President for Programs, Engineering and Test.
GSU, a public Carnegie doctoral/research institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving nearly 26,500 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction.