More light, high-tech labs cheer up engineering students

Students study in one of the main lounges of the new Engineering Building. (Ty Mullen)

The new Engineering Building opened to students and faculty on Sept. 4 after two years of construction.

According to the building’s website, the 200,000-square-foot structure has allocated 38 percent of its total square footage to laboratory spaces for students. The building is located on the southeast hill of the BYU campus, and drive-up access is currently under construction.

The dedication date has yet to be set.

The $80 million facility shares similar design philosophies with the Clyde Building; both buildings were designed to be above ground and connect to each other. The Crabtree Technology Building differs from them because it features a basement level dedicated to research, according to the Engineering Building’s website.

Larry Howell, associate dean of the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, said previous deans in the college led the planning and fundraising efforts, while the current administration oversaw much of the construction and execution of the project.

“The engineering student body has grown and technology has changed a lot since the Clyde Building was built,” he said. “The Engineering Building provides updated space for experiential learning activities including bay projects, team rooms, classrooms that can easily change from lecture mode to group mode, high-tech labs and many other resources that will enhance the engineering education experience.”

The building’s website says one focus of this project was to provide new, larger areas for students to work.

Karolynne McHood, a junior studying civil engineering, conducts most of her research in the Clyde Building. However, she will also start to work in the new Engineering Building. She will do desk work while working on topographical sand-tables with the BYU Hydroinformatics research group.

McHood said she enjoys doing research and studying in the new Engineering Building because of the wide spaces it provides.

“I like the open layout because you definitely are interacting with more people,” she said. “I will see (friends) from across the building, and it will be nice to catch up with them or talk to them about their classes or their homework. Before it was usually the step-down lounge in the Clyde.”

The larger square footage and open layout is not the only aesthetic part of the new building that differs from the other engineering buildings. The Engineering Building offers a more contemporary feel with its greater amounts of light, windows and overall exhibits, according to the building’s website.

“Before, in the Clyde, there weren’t very many windows,” McHood said. “Having the windows and the light, physically, it’s very stimulating. We have progressed. The design and the organization of this building is a lot better, and that’s due to better engineering.”

Students can look down from this aerial viewpoint into the new Engineering Building and the study spaces it provides. (Ty Mullen)

Arlene Cleverley, the chemical engineering financial secretary, said students have many positive reactions to the new environment.

Cleverley said students will come to her desk and be amazed at the difference the sun and brightness makes.

It’s important to have light and bright colors in the hallways and throughout the space, Cleverley said, which allows the feel of the building to be more accommodating, comforting and soothing as someone walks through it.

“They come in and they just have a second of, ‘Wow, this is so great.’ They’re instantly cheered by it,” she said.

Mechanical engineering student Brian Merritt said his semester has been different because the new building has allowed him to feel more organized and structured in his homework.

Mechanical engineering student Brian Merritt studies in one of the lounges of the new Engineering Building. (Holly Ferguson)

“Academically, you are affected by your environment. So, being in a place that is clean and organized puts me in the same mindset of being an organized and structured thinker in my homework,” he said.

Merritt said the new building shows students there is funding and that engineering is a promising field.

“It’s encouraging to everyone. It’s a symbol on campus that engineering’s a good program, (and) there’s opportunity,” he said.

More information can be found on the engineering department’s website or by emailing .

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