Engineering School to expand facilities
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 02:10
This summer, the School of Engineering plans to create a more collaborative work space for students and faculty by renovating the Science and Technology Center (Sci-Tech) and parts of Halligan Hall that were occupied by the Athletics Department before coaches moved into the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center.
“World class faculty and world class students deserve world class space,” Scott Sahagian, executive associate dean at the School of Engineering, said. “We are trying to get to that level to satisfy those needs.”
Communications Director at the School of Engineering Julia Keller said the new space will bring together faculty and students from different disciplines.
“We have the ability to create doctoral students coming out of Tufts in this great interdisciplinary area,” she said.
The new spaces could produce results comparable to the renovations to Tufts Gordon Institute (TGI) buildings, which has allowed for the collaboration of engineers and biologists since the space was created eight years ago, Keller said.
“The nature of our buildings is such that, as sciences change, we have to change our facilities to meet the requirements of the faculty,” Sahagian said. “A lot of this is reclaiming space that will be converted to meet the demands of faculty and the students.”
In addition to creating new work spaces, construction teams will also improve the exteriors of both Halligan and the Sci-Tech building, Director of Facilities Services Bob Burns said.
“We will try [to] do all of our work during the summer. However, some of the projects take longer than 10 to 12 weeks,” Burns said.
Still in its design phase, the Halligan renovation plan will mostly affect the building’s second floor. Construction on Sci-Tech and Halligan will cost around $6 million each, Burns said.
“We will try [to] minimize disruption in Halligan, but if you are on the first floor, and we are doing renovations on the second floor, there could be some noisy vibrations,” Burns said. “While we do our best to minimize it, we can’t prevent it all the time.”
The new spaces will meet the demands of innovative faculty members who are studying a variety of academic fields, according to Sahagian.
“The best example I have is two professors from different fields, Fio Omenetto and David Kaplan, who by chance walking down the hall began a discussion that mushroomed into all the good press we are receiving on the silk portfolio,” he said.
The “silk portfolio” uses silk to create optical technology to detect bacteria as well as new solar cells.
Although renovations will not be completed in time for current students to utilize the space, Keller believes that former construction projects to the buildings have served students well.
“Students are already benefiting from the plans that Dean Sahagian and Dean [Linda] Abriola instituted years ago,” Keller said. “The senior design labs in Sci-Tech also came online while I’ve been here. Within a few years, potentially within a student’s time at Tufts, I’ve seen four or five really unique, forward-thinking teaching spaces come online.”