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MS&E Building Undergoing Major Changes

This summer marked the start of a major renovation to the Materials Science and Engineering Building, the first structure erected on what is now the College of Engineering Campus. Seventy-six-percent of the current facility is being gutted and remodeled and 7,000 square feet of new space will be added on. The project should be completed by the end of 1997.

For the past three years, much of the building's first floor has been unusable for modern materials research, according to Associate Professor Eric E. Hellstrom, who chairs the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. "By completely rebuilding the central core area, the facility will be able to house the equipment in the Materials Science Center, which is currently in the Engineering Research Building (ERB)."

The five electron microscopes from the eleventh floor of the ERB will be moved to ground-level rooms specifically designed to eliminate electromagnetic fields and vibrations, said Hellstrom. "This will improve the resolution of the microscopes."

Construction at the Materials Science and Engineering Building

To meet the changing needs of materials science researchers, the Materials Science & Engineering Building is undergoing a major transformation. (large image)

Additionally, said Hellsrom, "The renovated building will provide an ideal location for the high-resolution TEM (transmission electron microscope) currently housed in the geology building."

Another benefit of the renovation is that the building's internal circulation will be reconfigured, providing a straight north-south walkway. A glass viewing gallery will enable visitors to look in the labs, showcasing the various areas of materials science.

Other features the new building will offer include a 6,100-square-foot second floor addition for office, classroom and lab space; a walkway to the Engineering Research Building; upgraded heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; and a 900-square-foot storage area.

Built in 1910, the MS&E Building was first occupied by the Forest Products Laboratory. In 1933 it became home to the Department of Mining and Metallurgy (now Materials Science and Engineering). No major changes were made until 1967 when a one-story addition was constructed to house an expanded foundry. In 1975 a two-story addition provided additional office space.

The MS&E Building was placed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places in 1985.