Ship faculty and staff eagerly await the day they can finally step foot in the new School of Engineering facility.
The addition of the School of Engineering was announced in 2018, leading to an extensive planning phase to transform the old steam plant into a state-of-the-art building for engineering programs. Renovations officially began in January 2020, and will be complete for the spring 2021 semester.
Dr. Moayyad AlNasra, chair of the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, served on the committee responsible for furnishing and providing state-of-the-art materials for all twelve labs within the facility. According to Dr. AlNasra, “50% of the learning is in the labs,” and the School of Engineering cannot succeed without them. Dr. AlNasra expects a need for more advanced equipment to accommodate more students in the future.
With the new lab spaces and high-tech equipment, Shippensburg becomes a true driving force in ABET-accredited programs. “This type of learning environment is required for the accreditation for the students to conduct the lab portion of the curriculum.” Dr. AlNasra continued, “it is at the heart of what we are doing as a department.”
Until the red tape is cut, engineering faculty have been conducting labs in the Franklin Science Center and Mathematics Computing Technologies building. Along with a building to call their own, faculty and students can freely use all lab amenities at any hour of the day, giving students a taste of what awaits them as future engineering professionals.
According to Christopher Lehman, junior civil engineering major, “most other majors already have a building or location that they can call home base, and the completion of the facility will give Civil and Mechanical students one of those places, where we can learn and study together.”
Junior mechanical engineering major Erika Ebersole looks forward to using the new equipment for hands-on experience in her labs. “The lab portions of these classes are so important in order to get real world experience, so I can’t wait to be able to start working with all the equipment that we have seen but haven’t gotten the chance to use yet.”
Briana Paey, another mechanical engineering student, also waits with excitement for the new labs and equipment so she can “put theory into practice.” Paey believes most mechanical engineering students will love the manufacturing lab, which will include lathes, bandsaws, a CNC machine, and a 10-ton hydraulic press.
Ebersole expects the new lab amenities to make her a better qualified job candidate. “Having the hands-on experience and knowing how to use the equipment for hardness tests, hydraulic tests, and more will give me a step up in any job/interview I apply for.” She continued, “this new facility will also help me better explore my own interests and determine which type of internships and jobs I would enjoy the most.”
Lehman articulated, “this is a very young program for Ship, and the completion of the steam plant shows how seriously the university is taking the development of the major.” Given this commitment, he believes Shippensburg engineering programs have nowhere to go but up.