BRISTOL – Engineering and computer science students returning to Roger Williams University from winter break this week will start taking classes and do lab work in a new state-of-the-art facility on campus.
The new three-story, 26,325-square-foot School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management building is set to open Wednesday, culminating more than four years of bringing expansive education opportunities for the students.
“This new facility is going to give us facilities of the same high quality as the instruction that our students receive,” said Robert A. Potter Jr., dean of the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management, in an interview Friday. “It’s going to be a win-win situation for everybody and we’re really excited to have the students come back and take a look at it.”
Potter said the $13.8 million building will consolidate labs that were previously located in downtown Bristol in the town’s warehouse district, which made it frequently difficult for students to get to, and allow students to not have to leave campus going forward.
“The fact that they are going to go to these labs instead of having to travel to Bristol, they’re going to walk right across from our current building and be there,” Potter said.
The building will offer seven labs focusing on electrical engineering, engineering fabrication, fluid mechanics, mechanics of materials, construction methods and materials, computer science software experimentation and construction management emerging technology.
The construction management emerging technology lab will have a state-of-the-art 28-foot high-resolution screen for navigating through a 3D model of a building’s electrical and plumbing systems, which Potter calls the program’s own “IMAX theater.” A two-story traveling crane, allowing students to perform steel erection work and gain experience in rigging, is also part of the new structure, Potter said.
The building’s collaboration space will be able to accommodate close to 100 students, more than double what the current building can house.
Brewster Thornton Group Architects LLP of Providence was the principal architect in constructing the building.
James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com.
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