Biomedical engineering and chemical engineering to share a new home at Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —Plans are underway for the construction of a new facility at Penn State that will house the departments of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering. The new facility, planned to open in 2019, is intended to enhance engineering collaboration at the University and position both departments for significant growth.
“Biomedical engineering at Penn State is experiencing unprecedented growth in faculty and students,” said Amr S. Elnashai, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “In addition, chemical engineering activities are becoming increasingly dynamic and the department is ramping up to take full advantage of sharing the same space with biomedical engineering.”
With support from the Penn State Board of Trustees, the new building project, estimated at $150M, is currently the largest project in the University’s capital budget. Plans for the new facility include a six-story, 194,500-sq.-ft. building plan that will house state-of-the-art classroom spaces, lecture halls, student common areas and office spaces as well as laboratory suites to support research clusters and a sharing of resources.
“This is a very exciting time for biomedical engineering at Penn State,” said department head, Cheng Dong. “We are rapidly adding new faculty members as part of a multi-year expansion plan and growing our graduate and undergraduate student counts significantly. Our interdisciplinary research and academic activities continue to underpin diverse interests across multiple University institutes, colleges and departments bringing together engineers, scientists and medical professionals to influence the next generation of biomedical discovery.”
The Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is the fastest growing sub-discipline in engineering at Penn State, is quickly outgrowing the Hallowell Building in which it currently resides. By 2019, the department seeks to double its current faculty count and increase annual acceptance of undergraduate students from 40 to 100 students.
Plans for the new facility will take the place of Fenske Laboratory (the current home of the Department of Chemical Engineering) located near the intersection of Shortlidge and Curtin roads on the University Park campus and will provide room for future growth. Biomedical engineering and chemical engineering, two disciplines that complement one another, will produce academic and research synergies as a result through their co-location.
“We will make use of the natural relationship between biomedical and chemical engineering,” Elnashai said, “as well as the new alliances that have been built over the past few years with the Eberly College of Science, College of Medicine, College of Human Health and Development, the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, the Materials Research Institute and the Institute for CyberScience to address the world’s most pressing challenges and stimulate economic development within Pennsylvania.”
Additional features of the building are set to include a student knowledge commons space that will facilitate group and collaborative work and design attributes that will support the “engineering on display” concept. Many of the teaching and research laboratories will be situated along a main corridor with transparent glass walls to create a modern, open feel and allow visitors and prospective students to observe the interesting research and discovery taking place within the labs.
Ground breaking for the project will commence this semester and is set to be completed in a single phase with all occupants of the Fenske Laboratory moved to other locations during construction.
Renderings of the new biomedical engineering and chemical engineering building are available at http://bit.ly/2bteIMM. To learn more about supporting the facility, including naming opportunities and gift options, please visit http://chemebiomedbuilding.engr.psu.edu/donate/.