$90 million project to build upon engineering research, education

by Emely Navarro, Staff Writer

San Diego State will construct an Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science Building on the current site of the Engineering Laboratory and Industrial Technologies buildings.

Construction for the first phase, Building A, which will accommodate several labs, will begin in the next two weeks.

The $90 million project aims to be transformational: physically and academically. It will expand the College of Engineering by providing teaching, research and collaboration space that will allow SDSU to support interdisciplinary research in engineering and science.

Among the benefits, the buildings design studios and fabrication centers will enhance the College of Engineering’s project-based curriculum, and the buildings high performance mechanical systems will pressurize labs to make the rooms safer.

“The EIS complex will have a tremendous impact on student learning and quality and volume of innovative research in the College of Engineering,” Dean of the College of Engineering Morteza Monte Mehrabadi said. “The modern facilities for student organizations will increase their chances of placing higher in national competitions.”

Associate Vice President of Real Estate, Planning and Development for SDSU Robert Schulz said the project recently completed detailed programing and is now in the early stages of schematic design. The schematic renderings for the building will be released in May.

The project will be constructed in different parts. Building A, located off of College Avenue and Canyon Crest, is the first component of the project and is expected to open in the fall 2015 semester. This building was developed as a temporary space for labs because once the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science Building begins construction in the summer, it will take the place of the existing Engineering Laboratory and Industrial Technologies buildings.

Once the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science Building is completed, Building A will replace the Facilities Services Quonset Hut Storage Building, which will be demolished in the final phase of this project. This space will then be used for possible parking and future projects.

The entire project is expected to be complete and occupied by spring 2018.

Mehrabadi said after the completion of the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science Building construction, the area around the Engineering building and the building itself will undergo renovation depending on the available funds at the time.

Overall it is an exciting time for the College of Engineering.

“Our enrollment is rapidly growing, our undergraduates are placing very high in national competitions, and our graduates are sought after by companies who hire them,” he said, attributing the success to the hands-on training the engineering students receive at SDSU.

Meanwhile, the faculty is involved in cutting-edge research and discoveries, such as taking part in the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center on Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, in which Mehrabadi said SDSU, University of Washington and MIT engineering faculty are currently in partnership to develop ways to connect a computational understanding of how the brain adapts and processes information with implantable devices that interact with the nervous system.

“I am encouraged by the support from upper administration and fellow deans for such a substantial investment in engineering,” he said. “I appreciate this support and feel very fortunate to be serving as the dean of engineering during this period.

Donations to the university’s The Campaign For SDSU are funding the new addition to campus.


Correction: This article originally used the pronoun “she” instead of “he” for Dean Morteza Monte Mehrabadi. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.