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Cutting-edge Research


Auburn Engineering’s $18 million Gavin Laboratory renovation is building on the past to help shape the future

Gavin BuildingThe Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory, formerly the Textile Building, has been renovated into a state-of-the-art research facility thanks to gifts of $10.5 million made possible by Charles E. Gavin III and his late wife, Carol Ann. This project includes the renovation of the Gavin Laboratory, demolition of the Engineering Shops and L Building and creation of the Carol Ann Gavin Garden. The total cost of the project is $18 million, and it completes the second phase of more than $67 million in construction.

Originally constructed in 1929 to prepare future engineers for the textile industry, this facility has served as a vital component to economic development in the region and state for almost a century.

"Over the last 100 years, the textile industry really made a significant impact across this region," said Steve Taylor, associate dean for research. "Mr. Gavin’s gift was really focused on taking that history and building a structure that will support research in advanced technologies that will continue to spur economic development across this region for the next 100 years."

An additive manufacturing facility is being incorporated into the building renovation to allow students to gain experience with emerging design and fabrication technology. This has allowed the college to partner with NASA to establish the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence, while also partnering with ASTM International, EWI and MTC to establish the ASTM International Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence. The renovation has also paved the way for $6 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The renovated structure will also include the new Center for Polymer and Advanced Composites to continue the college’s research in this area and to meet industry needs, research laboratories, the Nuclear Power Generations Systems Program and numerous collaborative meeting spaces.

"This facility is going to be an incubator for cutting-edge research that is going to help us prepare our students to be the leaders of the future, while also bringing research opportunities to Auburn," said Maria Auad, director of the Center for Polymer and Advanced Composites.

The south entrance of the Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory will be renovated to allow students more convenient entry to the building when coming from the heart of campus, while also providing accessibility to the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center, which is currently under construction.