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3M and 3M Foundation give $1.6 million to MEIE Building Project

Mechanical Engineering Building

The gift from the 3M Foundation contributes to the update of the Mechanical Engineering Building. In the space where the building's old Sawtooth structure used to be, workers are currently constructing the floors of a new five-story addition. (20K JPG)

3M Community Giving, the charitable arm of 3M, has announced a $1.6 million gift toward the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Building Project at the College of Engineering.

The gift will take the form of $1.4 million in cash and $200,000 in 3M multimedia projectors for the building. In recognition of the contribution, the university will name the main lecture hall The 3M Auditorium.

“This generous gift to the College of Engineering reflects 3M's commitment to innovation,” says Dean Paul S. Peercy. “The new Mechanical Engineering Building will have the facilities and resources to conduct research and educate engineers in a new age of discovery.”

The project will update the Mechanical Engineering Building, 1513 University Ave., which was built in 1930 around a then-existing machine shop called “the Sawtooth.” To create a 21st century engineering facility within the old building, the university has demolished the Sawtooth structure and will replace it with a new, four-story addition for academic and research programs, as well as a fifth floor that will house the mechanical systems and a basement containing heavy-duty laboratories.

“This project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is in keeping with our tradition of giving, which targets science, engineering and business education — disciplines important to society and technology companies like 3M,” said Barbara Kaufmann of 3M. “Facilities are one part of the education experience, and we are pleased to support this endeavor, which will advance teaching and learning opportunities for faculty and students.”

The existing building will be completely renovated. Electrical and data infrastructure will be brought up to date, a new central heating, ventilation and air conditioning system will be installed and new elevators will make the building more accessible. The historic limestone facade will be preserved, and a new main entrance will be created on Engineering Drive.

The 3M Auditorium will be a 3,045-square-foot lecture hall with 149 seats. It will feature multimedia and will be capable of originating and receiving satellite video transmissions. The 3M Auditorium will be used for classes and college-wide meetings, seminars and other functions.

The gift is part of the UW Foundation's “Create the Future: The Wisconsin Campaign.”