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Applied engineering complex coming to Marshall

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Marshall University plans to break ground this fall on an applied engineering complex, thanks in part to a pledge from Arthur's Enterprises, a Huntington-based company.

The building, to be named the Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex, is designed to be 145,000 square feet and include classrooms, labs, offices and space for students to work on collaborative projects, said Dave Wellman, spokesman for the university. It will be located on Third Avenue between the Arthur Weisberg Family Engineering Laboratories and the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center.

The complex costs $50 million, half of which will come from state Higher Education Policy Commission excess lottery funds. The rest will be funded by a combination of private donations and a bond issue of $52.1 million from last fall, Wellman said.

Donor Art Weisberg, president of Arthur's Enterprises, said he chose to contribute to the complex because he's made money, and he wants to give it back.

"Engineering, to me, is the future of America and West Virginia," he said.

The complex will include the College of Information Technology and Engineering; mechanical, electrical engineering and bioengineering laboratories; the departments of mathematics and computational science; computer modeling and digital imaging facilities; the transportation research center; and the Marshall University Research Corp.

The facility will serve at least 400 undergraduate students -- 200 of whom are studying civil engineering -- and the 200 graduate students enrolled in the five programs the College of Information Technology and Engineering offers, said Wael Zatar, dean of the college.

Zatar said he expects to add more graduate classes because of the new facility.

The new complex will also allow the university to develop mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and bioengineering concentrations.

Currently, the university offers an accredited engineering program with a focus in civil engineering, and adding facilities for these other concentrations is expected to increase enrollment, Zatar said.

"[Engineering is] one of the fastest-growing programs at Marshall University," he said.

Marshall University President Stephen Kopp said the new building will be a useful recruiting tool for students looking for modern facilities in science, technology, engineering and math programs, which he called "high-demand areas."

"This is an investment not just in Marshall University but in the state and in the nation as well," he said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October and is expected to last 28 months, Kopp said.

Reach Alison Matas at alison.matas@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.


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