For health and safety reasons, campus leaders decided to forgo a traditional grand opening for its new Engineering Lab Building when it opened to a small number of faculty and students in January. But, with activity in the building in full swing this fall, it was the right time for members of the campus community to officially celebrate the ELB’s opening at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday.
With student-operated robots greeting the small crowd, excitement for the new building was apparent as U-M leadership, industry partners, the campus community and others listened as Chancellor Domenico Grasso shared his remarks. He reflected on what the new facility means for UM-Dearborn, the region and beyond.
“We will be designing the health, happiness and prosperity of the future. What a magnificent facility for us to do that in,” said Grasso, who is an environmental engineer. “I’ve worked in and I’ve been in many engineering facilities throughout my career. This building is among the top facilities in the United States. You will not go to any campus and find a facility better than this.”
The ELB is a fitting home for UM-Dearborn’s engineering and computer science programs, which have seen explosive growth in the past decade. The new ELB features 45 instructional and research labs in core disciplines like mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as emerging subjects like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, bioengineering and game design.
Architecturally, it’s also a real showpiece. Huge windows flood the building with natural light. And glass interior walls let you see directly into many labs, as the work is happening. The huge 2,400-square-foot atrium is the largest campus gathering space outside of the Fieldhouse and features a 29-foot digital display that was used during the event to premiere a video about the project.