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By JACK VANASSCHE, Editor in Chief

Floor plans, renderings and budget plans were discussed on Thursday regarding the $90 million new Engineering Laboratory Building, which is scheduled to be finished by Fall 2020.

“The new ELB will be a landmark building on campus,” said UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little. “One that is critical to providing a 21st-century engineering education.”

The original Engineering Laboratory Building, built in 1959, is an original building to UM-Dearborn’s campus. However, with enrollment in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) having nearly doubled since 2010, CECS Dean Tony England said an updated facility was necessary.

“This old facility not only has limits with capacity, but there are also issues with incorporating new technology,” England said. “In a 1959 building, built with 1950s understanding of engineering, modern engineering practices and technology either can’t be done or can only be done at an unreasonably high cost.”

Five general classrooms are planned for the new building, along with 28 laboratories and 23 faculty offices.

Specialized laboratories for use in the study of cybersecurity, robotics, bioengineering, human factors, power engineering and other subjects will be included in the facility.

The new ELB was designed by SmithGroupJJR Detroit. The group has designed Oakland University’s Engineering Center along with Michigan State University’s Molecular Plant Sciences Building as well as its Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

Construction is set to begin in the spring of 2018. An estimated 57,000 square feet of the old ELB will be renovated along with 66,000 square feet of new construction, making the new ELB a 123,000 square foot space.

Of the projected $90 million cost, $30 million will be provided from the state, while the rest will come from bond financing and corporate, university and individual support.

On Thursday, the university announced a $1 million gift from University of Michigan Regent Ronald Weiser and Eileen Weiser to the funding of the new ELB. It is the largest gift to the project to date.

“The new ELB will be a source of pride not only for this campus but the entire University of Michigan,” Ron Weiser said.

UM-Dearborn will honor the Weisers’ donation by naming the Weiser Family Atrium, which will be a space for project work and industry showcases.

“This is great news not only for the College of Engineering and Computer Science but for the entire university,” Little said. “The new building will transform our university and help solidify a bright future for UM-Dearborn and the students we serve for decades to come.”