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Community gets preview of future campus look

Several dozen residential neighbors of the College of Engineering came to campus July 17 to get a glimpse of the future.

Artist conception of Engineering Centers Building

Their vision came through a college-sponsored public information meeting at which computer-aided designs and architectural renderings of the proposed Engineering Centers Building (ECB) and Lot 17 Parking Ramp were displayed.

Architects were on hand to discuss the planning that has gone into each project, and community members asked questions and offer comments. Many of their concerns pertained to traffic and aesthetic issues.

Community input will help the architects as they proceed with their work, they said.

Construction of the ECB will begin in about two years at the southeast corner of Breese Terrace and University Avenue. The new facility will replace the WWII-era "temporary" buildings that are still in use.

Making up the western edge of campus, this facility is an important link between the university and adjacent neighborhoods, said Dean John G. Bollinger. "It is intended to be an architecturally interesting structure providing a transition from the Mechanical Engineering Building to the First Congregational Church, a prominent building just west of the engineering campus.

Artist conception of Engineering Centers Building

"The Engineering Centers Building will be a dynamic facility, combining both educational and research activities within the college," Bollinger added. "The development of this facility is viewed as an opportunity to enhance the quality of the teaching and research environments, and to aid in the recruitment of talented faculty, students and research staff."

Work on the Lot 17 Parking Ramp is slated to begin this fall. Occupying the west side of the existing Lot 17, the ramp should eliminate parking space deficiencies for both engineering and athletic events.

It is very important for area communities to have a voice in these projects, said Dean Bollinger at the close of the two-hour meeting. "I wanted to share with everybody where we're at so we can get input."