Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering is constructing a $44 million student support facility that will further enhance the college’s vision of being the best student-centered engineering experience in America.
Construction of the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center is made possible thanks to a $30 million gift from John and Rosemary Brown, which was announced as part of an overall $57 million gift — the largest in university history — in April 2015. Since then, more than 40 alumni and corporate partners have invested into this comprehensive student support facility.
Site preparation for the nearly 140,000 square-foot project began December 2016 with the demolition of the Engineering Shops and L Building. The project is anticipated to be completed by spring 2019 and will complete more than $67 million in new construction and renovation on the engineering campus.
"John and Rosemary’s transformational gift has enabled the college to construct a facility capable of significantly transforming the personal and professional successes of tomorrow’s Auburn engineers by providing students with the highest level of hands-on experiences and academic support throughout their college experience," said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of engineering. "Redefining engineering education in a changing world and training engineers inside and outside the classroom is a vital part of our vision. This facility will enable the college to build the infrastructure to make this a reality."
Located in the heart of campus, the center will specifically address students’ professional and academic needs, providing one of the most comprehensive, active-learning environments in the country. In cohesion with the college’s vision to provide the best student-centered engineering educational experience in America, the center will also create greater opportunities for collaboration among faculty members and fellow students, creating a sense of "home" within the engineering campus. Designed to serve students from all engineering disciplines, it will incorporate high-contact initiatives through student recruitment, curriculum advising, career mentoring and placement, tutoring, international experiences, industrial relations and professional development.
The ground floor of the 94,000 square-foot building is expected to include a design and innovation center, which will consist of student maker spaces, laboratories, shops, project incubators, study rooms, flexible classrooms, computer labs and more, while also serving as the home for engineering student organizations. The main floor will house a tutoring and learning center, academic advising center, student recruitment center, career development and corporate relations center, the Academic Excellence Program and offices for support staff. The top floor will incorporate ample, spacious student study areas with large-group and small-group study rooms, along with conference rooms and flexible grand hall all outfitted with the latest smart technologies. A 45,000 square-foot raised garden structure connecting Brown-Kopel and the Gavin Laboratory will allow the college to build out under the space.
"From the minute a student walks in the front door of this building, it’s going to be apparent to them that we’re serious about providing the best student-centered engineering experience in America," Roberts said.