Louisiana Tech University celebrated a milestone this weekend in the construction of its new Integrated Engineering and Science Building (IESB) with a ceremony to mark the placement of the building’s last steel beam.
Before dignitaries added their signatures to the beam that was signed by thousands of students, faculty, and staff members the day before, Louisiana Tech President Dr. Les Guice called it a “red-letter day.”
“This project as well as the other building projects across Tech’s campus symbolize its growth and its energy,” Guice said. “This symbolizes excellence and respect for our faculty and staff who have worked to provide unparalleled educational experiences for our students over many decades.”
Scheduled to open in Fall 2019, the IESB will offer first-and second-year engineering, mathematics, and science students the opportunity to attend classes, perform research, program arduinos (an open-source electronic prototyping platform), and build prototypes in a new learning space. When completed, the three-story, 130,000-square-foot building will alleviate congestion that has put strain on classrooms and labs as enrollment in engineering and science classes at Tech has grown.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and University of Louisiana System President Dr. Jim Henderson expressed their excitement at seeing a dream for the Tech campus being brought into reality. With the help of generous donors and dedicated legislators, as well as student, faculty, and staff committed to the idea of a 21st Century Campus, Louisiana Tech will continue to impact Louisiana and beyond with innovative programs and research.
Henderson applauded the vision of Louisiana Tech leaders past and present who are dedicated to student success and driving the state’s economic development.
“The students are the ones who will become the learners who thrive in the future of work,” Henderson said. “They will also become the leaders who create that future.”
Edwards expressed his thanks to those present for helping the state prioritize education in a time of economic difficulty.
“It was because of the work of the higher education community and these leaders that we were able to make a commitment to this particular project,” Edwards said. “It is critically important, not just to Tech, or to the I-20 corridor, but to the state as a whole. This is about providing opportunity for success here in Louisiana because education is synonymous with opportunity.”
Dr. Hisham Hegab, dean of the College of Engineering and Science, said the building will provide students with more than new learning spaces.
“This new facility will greatly expand our ability to provide project-driven curricula for all of the programs across our College,” he said. “It has been designed to create interactive spaces for students and faculty to work and collaborate. We expect it will be a place that students choose to be whether they are attending class, working on design projects, or simply spending time with their fellow students.”
The IESB, which will be located on the large lot east of Tech Pointe and span from Dan Reneau Drive to Texas Avenue, will be the largest academic building on campus and will provide much-needed space for classrooms, labs, and faculty offices. In addition, a green space behind the building will accommodate up to 1,000 people for student activities and College events, providing students, faculty, and staff with a gathering space for study and recreation.
While students will continue to take advanced classes in Bogard Hall, the Biomedical Engineering Building, Carson-Taylor Hall, George T. Madison Hall, and Nethken Hall, freshman and sophomore courses will be held in the new building. Living with the Lab and Living with Cyber courses will occupy the first floor, math classes will be conducted on the second, and physics and chemistry labs will be held on the third. In addition to labs and shops for students, there will be office spaces for faculty teaching in the facility representing all disciplines across the entire College.