New William N. Pennington Engineering Building to transform Northern Nevada

President Marc Johnson, Dean Manos Maragakis, and Governor Brian Sandoval

University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson, Dean of the College of Engineering Manos Maragakis and Governor Brian Sandoval at the June 16 bill signing.

Funding for new building approved by legislature

From a far-reaching vision 10 years ago, it's now full speed ahead on the new College of Engineering building after the final chunk of funding was signed by Governor Brian Sandoval in a ceremony June 16 at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The William N. Pennington Engineering Building will make room for the fastest growing college on campus, now with more than 2,900 engineering students and nearly 90 faculty, which is nearly double what it was 10 years ago. The College anticipates needing 30 to 40 more faculty in the next five years to accommodate expected enrollment growth, requiring more space for teaching and research.

"It is an exciting time as the growth in our College - the research, more students, more faculty - comes into greater alignment with the economic development of our state," said Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering. "And it's gratifying to have the support of the governor and the legislature as we continue to pursue our vision of a globally competitive engineering education and provide a high quality professional workforce to new and existing industries throughout the state and make high-impact breakthroughs through state-of-the-art research."

Rending of the new engineering building; view from Evans Avenue

Project Funding

  • $23.3 million, University of Nevada, Reno
  • $41.5 million, state of Nevada
  • $23 million, private donors

Building highlights

  • 90,000 square feet
  • A clean room
  • More than 40 faculty offices, 150 graduate work stations and more than 40 laboratories
  • A large-scale computer lab
  • Est. completion date: Summer 2020

Mechanical Engineering Department moves home

To support the department's growth, a $14 million renovation of the Mechanical Engineering building was completed in August 2017. The renovation increased
the building's usable space by 3,100 square feet and enhanced its instructional and research facilities, paving the way for the department to develop research and educational programs in aerospace engineering.

Palmer Engineering during renovations

In addition to seismic, ADA and life safety upgrades, the renovation to Palmer Engineering included new electrical and HVAC systems and five new classrooms.

"With the added labs and spaces for both graduate and undergraduate students, the renovations to Palmer will allow for greater innovation, collaboration and productivity," said Miles Greiner, chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

"For instance, roughly 125 seniors will graduate this year, and this number is increasing. They all participate in a capstone course that requires them to imagine, design and execute their own ideas for products. Our combination of collaboration spaces, manufacturing facilities and laboratories will give students the resources and tools necessary to bring their innovative ideas to fruition."

The revamped manufacturing lab, moved to its new location on the first floor, now includes easily accessible outdoor entrances for quick delivery of materials and technician offices located within the lab itself for increased safety.

"We're just so excited," Greiner said. "It has been a fantastic process for us. So much of engineering research is done experimentally, and a lot is done using computational fluid enamors or computational solid mechanics, and now we've modernized this building enough to be as powerful and as useful as we need it to be."