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Construction of IESE building set

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Architect’s rendering of the Integrated Engineering and Science Education building from the corner of Dan Reneau and Homer Streets.

What students now see as a gravel parking lot will soon evolve into the largest academic building Louisiana Tech University’s campus has ever known.

This structure, known as the Integrated Engineering and Science Education building, is expected to begin its ascent in April, university President Les Guice said.

He said the 130,000-square-foot, three-story IESE building will be a structure with permanence.

“We challenged the architects to do something special in the design,” Guice said, “to create a building that, 50 years from now when people are looking back, they’ll say, ‘Wow. That’s an impressive facility.’”

 Ronnie Huckaby Jr., a junior mechanical engineering student, said he thinks the IESE will create a friendlier space for students to study and interact.

“I think I would have been more inclined to stay in the building and study,” Huckaby said. “I kind of wish that I would have had that when I was coming up. Maybe it will make more of the freshmen engineers meet new people.”

Hisham Hegab, dean of the College of Engineering and Science, said the IESE is designed to better accommodate project-based learning.

“That type of activity generally takes up a lot more space than maybe a traditional lecture type scenario,” Hegab said. “We’ve renovated a few spaces in Bogard Hall to accommodate for our freshman engineering curriculum, but we needed more facilities, more space, to accommodate that type of curriculum.”

Hegab said the IESE will have versatile classrooms that can serve a variety of purposes.

“There will be good-sized rooms that have tables that can be rearranged,” he said. “A lot of the rooms have power available to them from the ceiling. The main thing we kept in mind in the design of a lot of the classrooms is trying to make sure that they are going to be flexible for the long-term.”

Huckaby said the design of the flexible classrooms will improve engineering education.

“They have done a very good job of trying to make integrated classrooms,” he said. “To where it is very easy to teach, very easy to learn.”

 Hegab said the IESE building will come complete with a student help desk.

“Because we are doing all this project-based learning, there’s going to be a student help desk or achievement center,” Hegab said.

“It’s going to provide students access to parts and kits and things that they need for their courses, as well as access to some of the prototype equipment that can help supplement what they do in class.”

In addition to flexible classrooms, Hegab said the engineering building will feature a glass atrium with a spiral staircase. The atrium is expected to serve as a gathering space for up to 1,000 people.

“One of the attractions for us in particular is that we want to have a large space in the building to be able to have events in,” Hegab said.

According to the campus master plan, the upcoming IESE building will, along with existing Bogard, Nethken and Carson Taylor halls, solidify the eastern area of campus as the science and engineering district.

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