Fairfield's School of Engineering Is on the Move
The soaring, open, and light filled contemporary spaces of the Bannow Science Center make it a natural fit for the School of Engineering, which is leaving its former home in McAuliffe Hall. Since the semester began, engineering students and faculty have been enjoying newly-renovated classroom and lab space in the Bannow Science Center, while workers put the finishing touches on offices.
“McAuliffe Hall is a beautiful, historic building, but it’s not designed for engineering studies,” says Dean Bruce Berdanier. “While the classroom space is beautiful, the labs are long and narrow, making it awkward to teach, and the corridors are winding and dark.”
Moving the School of Engineering to the Rudolph F. Bannow Science Center has a number of benefits, he says, including “wide open spaces that are inviting to students, and lab space that was designed for that purpose, making it beneficial for both students and professors.” And locating the School within the same building as math and physical sciences classes, and next door to the School of Nursing, opens up a range of possibilities for easy collaboration and cross-disciplinary projects.
The engineering faculty has already moved over to Bannow, and the majority of engineering classes are being conducted there. Most of the lab space is up and running, with the exception of the mechanical engineering lab, slated to be completed in time for classes in January.
The School of Engineering will maintain some space on the first floor of McAuliffe Hall for the near future. “We’ll need some area for a microelectronics lab and automated manufacturing,” says Dr. Berdanier, adding that senior design teams will continue to use McAuliffe throughout the year to work on their projects. Proposals for the future use of the building are still under discussion.
And for the first time in their new space, the School will be holding an Open House for prospective students interested in engineering, math or physics. Showing off the new lab and classroom space, and schematics of the new office space, is something the faculty is looking forward to as they prepare for the Saturday, Nov. 2 event. Over 70 students have registered for the Open House.