Construction underway on massive new building for College of Engineering

Construction site for the new engineering building

The east side of campus looks a lot different this semester, as construction has begun on the long-planned-for new building that is making way for the fastest growing college at the University of Nevada, Reno: the College of Engineering.

"To fulfill our mission, our vision, we knew the College would need more space, more labs and offices to become a premium college," College of Engineering Dean Manos Maragakis said. "We listened to industry, to students and to our elected officials as they planned the future. Our great strides in research, teaching and economic development for Nevada now has us bursting at the seams. Our new engineering complex is coming just in time as our College continues in our mission to be a world-improving institution."

Maragakis began implementing his vision when he became dean of the college in 2008.

Growth in the College from 2008 to 2018

The College's phenomenal growth since 2008 has resulted in huge increases in a number of key metrics.

The new William N. Pennington Engineering Building will provide space to accommodate this unprecedented growth.

3039 enrollment, up 91%

185 PhD students, up 73%

530 graduates, up 98%

96 academic faculty, up 68%

"The 10-year approach has worked, and we became the fastest growing college at the University, creating a globally competitive workforce that dovetails into the governor's plan for Nevada," he said. "We've transformed with industry, our efforts go hand in hand with economic development - we've listened to industry with a comprehensive approach that keeps us on a path for sustained growth."

In the College of Engineering, enrollment has doubled since 2005. The college has increased tenure-track faculty to over 90 positions and has plans to more than additional faculty in the next five years.

Continued growth and success depends on building new space that is capable of meeting the instructional needs of a growing student body. The new building provides the modern facilities capable of supporting high-tech, cutting-edge research and teaching. This building will allow the College to pursue its strategic vision, serve Nevada and educate future generations of engineering professionals.

The William N. Pennington Engineering Building will feature research laboratories, teaching laboratories and collaborative spaces, promoting interaction between faculty and students while accommodating future growth and providing high-tech facilities to develop nationally competitive research programs for each of the five departments in the College of Engineering.

The new building will be about 100,000 square feet, on massive new building for College of Engineering four stories tall and home to more than 40 faculty offices, 150 graduate student work stations, more than 40 laboratories, a clean room, a large-scale computer lab, a 200-student classroom and the dean of the College of Engineering's offices.

At a signing ceremony held June 16 for the legislative bill providing half of the funding for the construction, University President Marc Johnson said, "The University is very grateful for the leadership Governor Sandoval has provided, and, in addition, how our legislative leaders have followed through on several initiatives that will strengthen our University's ability to meet the needs of a changing and more economically diverse Nevada. In particular, the new engineering building will further increase our capacity to produce the graduates and the R&D that will provide the foundation for our economy of the future. The bills that Gov. Sandoval signed today better position our University to improve the quality of education, the quality of economic development and the quality of life of all Nevadans."

The building's placement on campus will also facilitate the development of an engineering complex with the adjacent engineering buildings. It will be located just south of the Earthquake Engineering Laboratory, joining the well-established engineering complex of Paul Laxalt Mineral Engineering, Paul Laxalt Mineral Research, Palmer Engineering, Scrugham Engineering and Mines, Harry Reid Engineering Laboratory and the Earthquake Engineering Laboratory.

The project cost is estimated to be $92 million. The State of Nevada allocated $41.5 million for this project. The remaining amount will come from the University of Nevada, Reno, raised through philanthropy, private donations and University funds.

The building was designed by H+K Architects and the contractor is CORE Construction, both of Reno, Nevada. Construction on the William N. Pennington Engineering Building is slated for completion by the summer of 2020.