News

ECE breaks ground on a new era

10/7/2011 3:41:00 PM

On October 7, a ceremony was held to break ground for a new building that will be headquarters to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The groundbreaking ceremony ended with the assembled dignitaries digging into the site for the new ECE building. From left: College of Engineering Dean Ilesanmi Adesida, University of Illinois President Michael Hogan, Chancellor Phyllis Wise, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, ECE Department Head Andreas Cangellaris, and ECE Professor Philip Krein, who is chair of the ECE Building Committee.
The groundbreaking ceremony ended with the assembled dignitaries digging into the site for the new ECE building. From left: College of Engineering Dean Ilesanmi Adesida, University of Illinois President Michael Hogan, Chancellor Phyllis Wise, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, ECE Department Head Andreas Cangellaris, and ECE Professor Philip Krein, who is chair of the ECE Building Committee.
[See construction photo page and live construction webcam for updates on project.]

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn joined University of Illinois President Michael Hogan, Vice President of the University of Illinois and Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Phyllis Wise, College of Engineering Dean Ilesanmi Adesida, and ECE Department Head Andreas Cangellaris to launch the construction of the building.

“The University of Illinois is home to some of the best and brightest minds in our state and we want to make sure they have the most cutting-edge technology available to them,” Governor Quinn said. “Updated and energy-efficient higher education resources are vital to the success of our state’s innovation and economic development.”

The $95 million facility will enhance educational opportunities, support research breakthroughs in computing, communications, nanotechnology and biotechnology, and set a new standard for energy-efficient buildings. The Illinois Jobs Now! project will create approximately 620 construction jobs, building what is projected to be the most energy-efficient engineering structure in the nation.

“Great minds working together can plant seeds of innovation that may never take root when those same people work alone,” President Hogan said. He emphasized that the partnership between the state and University in raising funds for the project has “ensured that this great university will remain a world leader in high-tech innovation and education for generations to come.

“The ECE department has a rich legacy of achievement – from transistors and medical imaging to LED lighting, communications and computing – and this new facility is an investment that will pave the way for new generations of breakthrough technology,” Hogan added.

State funds for the building had been part of a capital bill signed by Governor Quinn in 2009. The state funds will provide $47.5 million toward the project. That is half of the total cost to build and furnish what will be a major addition to the Urbana campus.

“We can’t forget that jobs follow brainpower,” said Governor Quinn. “If we invest in brainpower and in higher education, as we’re doing today, we’ll do well in the world economy.”

In addition to the state funding, the University to date has successfully secured $37.5 million in private support for this important project from many generous friends and donors of the College of Engineering. The College and the ECE department are working to raise the remaining funds to reach the final target of $47.5M in private support prior to the project’s completion.

The new ECE building will comprise 230,000 square feet of instructional, research, and office space, with an emphasis on student learning spaces. The building has the goal of achieving LEED platinum certification, which indicates the highest level of building efficiency. The 21 instructional labs will make up 28% of the total space. Spaces for students include an undergraduate lounge, a grad student lounge, student organization offices, and 11 teaching assistant meeting rooms and study rooms. Twenty research labs for faculty and graduate students will support seven research groups.

The auditorium will have 400 seats, making it one of the largest gathering spots on campus. It will also enable ECE to hold gatherings for an entire class of students at one time.

The facility is targeted for completion in spring 2014. More information can be found at the website for the Building Campaign for ECE ILLINOIS.
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Contact: Tom Moone, communications coordinator, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 217/244-9893.

If you have any questions about the College of Engineering, or other story ideas, contact Rick Kubetz, Engineering Communications Office, 217/244-7716, editor. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.