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Home : Volume 29 : Winter 2003 :
Engineering Centers Building receives festive welcome

ECB Dedication, Oct. 18, 2002

The Engineering Centers Building features wide-open spaces. At the dedication, members of the UW Marching Band performed on one level as guests looked on below. (43K JPG)

THE COLLEGE DEDICATED the new Engineering Centers Building on Oct. 18 with a party that included alumni, ice cream and Bucky Badger. During the ceremony, members of the UW marching band trumpeted "The Star-Spangled Banner," "Varsity" and "On, Wisconsin," while Bucky Badger mingled with a crowd of nearly 300. A video, "Building a Vision," highlighted the building's planning and construction, and attendees sampled Engineers' High-Tech Hazelnut Toffee ice cream, a special Babcock ice cream created to celebrate engineers and commemorate the dedication of the Engineering Centers Building.

In his remarks, Dean Paul Peercy reminded the audience of the history of the Breese Terrace corner of the engineering campus. "Fifty years ago, veterans returning from World War II stretched campus resources to the brink," Peercy said. "The campus responded by building what everyone hoped would be temporary buildings to handle the influx. They served their purpose — for everything from lab space to a cafeteria.
John G. Bollinger

Emeritus Dean John G. Bollinger (25K JPG)

"Now we stand on the site of those buildings to celebrate a new era for the College of Engineering. The Engineering Centers Building represents our dream for the future of engineering education, research and technology transfer." Peercy called the building "a key element in our strategic objective of creating the best-possible educational experience for all of our students."

Emeritus Dean John Bollinger, who was instrumental in planning and fund raising for the building, told the crowd, "This is a proud moment for the college and for me. This began as a dream and to see it come to reality with the help of so many of those in attendance is truly a special moment."

Chancellor John Wiley, who was an associate dean in the College of Engineering during Bollinger's tenure, said the long-awaited building offers an extraordinary space for undergraduates. "The Engineering Centers Building reminds us that in a place where ground-breaking research is taking place, we have not forgotten the importance of educating our students," he said.
Glenn Bower conducting a tour at the ECB dedication

FutureTruck advisor Glenn Bower describes the features of the Myers Student Automotive Center to guests at the ECB dedication. (40K JPG)

Bucky Badger and alumni at the Engineering Centers Building dedication

Bucky Badger was a special guest, too. (24K JPG)

Speaking on behalf of engineering students, Paul LaVanway, co-president of the Polygon Engineering Council, said he was excited about the building's potential to help student organizations grow and succeed. In addition, he praised the college for involving students in ECB's design process and the project's many donors for making the building possible. "We can't help but pause and look back at those who helped us and say thank you," he said.

Philip Albert, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, read a letter of congratulations from then-Gov. Scott McCallum and cited the College of Engineering's contribution to the state's economy via start-up companies, patents and centers and consortia such as the Consortium for Global Electronic Commerce. "The Engineering Centers Building is helping to expand our vision and the governor's vision for economic success," he said.
James Beal conducting a tour at the ECB dedication.

The ECB dedication featured tours of the building's many facilities. Shown above is the Phillips Plastics Discovery Center. (32K JPG)

ECB is the college's first completely new building in 30 years. Key areas of the building include student projects and activities areas, which provide facilities both for individual and team-project construction and presentation. Engineering student organization offices share meeting space in the building, a move designed to encourage interaction among groups.

ECB is also home to Engineering Career Services, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Technical Communications, and a myriad of engineering research centers that formerly were located throughout — and in some cases off — the UW-Madison campus.

With its soaring catwalks, balconies and wide-open spaces, ECB is aesthetically pleasing as well. The building's windowed "prow," or atrium, features a 500-pound stainless-steel-and-wire sculpture by artist and inventor R. Buckminster Fuller. Given in memory of alumnus Blair Temkin, "Sixty-Strut Tensegrity Sphere" is considered one of the most spectacular Fuller works to illustrate the concept of tensegrity, a structural-relationship principle based on balancing forces of tension and compression. In addition, an 11,000-square-foot terrazzo floor, funded by the Wisconsin Percent for Art Program, takes functional art to a new level. Artist Scott Parsons' design fuses art, science and technology, incorporating an eclectic set of more than 50 images — among them, circuits, an automobile transmission, a crystal array, and a Native American symbol — into his multicolored masterpiece.

The college broke ground for the 204,000-square-foot, $53.4 million Engineering Centers Building in June 2000. Coupled with funding from the state of Wisconsin, gifts from the college's alumni and friends and the Vilas Trust made its construction possible.

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Date last modified: Tuesday, 11-Feb-2003 17:42:00 CST
Date created: 11-Feb-2003

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