On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, Shippensburg University celebrated the opening of the new home for the School of Engineering with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Located in the remodeled and reimagined Steam Plant at the entrance to campus, the new facility boasts state-of-the-art engineering labs and an eco-friendly and energy efficient design.
Ship launched its first engineering program, computer engineering, in 2011. Software and electrical engineering followed next, and for nearly a decade all three ABET accredited programs were housed in the Department of Computer Science at the Math and Computing Technologies Center. In 2018, Ship introduced the School of Engineering as civil and mechanical engineering programs were launched. The need for a larger facility that met the needs of students became evident.
Construction on the building began in January 2020 after an extensive feasibility study, conducted by Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates. Features of the transformed building include a civil engineering lab, a fabrication lab and welding area. The second level now houses classroom and additional lab space where students can put their theories into practice.
During the ceremony, Shippensburg University President Laurie A. Carter reflected on the history of the building and the important role it has played. Right outside the walls of the Steam Plant, the railroad, now the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, delivered goods, services, guests and students to the entrance of campus.
“Now, the Steam Plant once again serves as a link between the university and the world preparing our engineers to solve the big problems of our world. In addition, students working in these labs in the name of academic credit will also simultaneously be working alongside and learning from industry partners in solving their real-world immediate problems. These opportunities will drive, for years to come, directly to career opportunities and deliver solutions to Pennsylvania industry and the workforce,” said Carter.
Not only does the newly renovated space serve students, but it further enhances Ship’s commitment to sustainability. The Steam Plant was decommissioned in 2015, and the shift to natural gas reduced the university’s carbon footprint by 31 percent. In the process of repurposing the vacant building, spray-in foam wall insulation, energy efficient windows, and new HVAC equipment with the highest efficiency rating were installed.
Shippensburg University is the only State System school to offer five engineering programs and one of only 37 software engineering programs in the nation to receive ABET accreditation.
Check out the gallery of photos from the opening.
Hear Dr. Carol Wellington, director of the School of Engineering, discuss the unique opportunities for students in the new School of Engineering building.