HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – As Huntsville continues to grow as a center for research and engineering, the University of Alabama at Huntsville is also growing.
On Friday, April 8, the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees gave approval for the first phase of a project to construct a new engineering building on the UAH campus. The first phase formally approves UAH officials to begin planning for the building, which will be an 80,000-square-foot, multi-story academic and research facility for the College of Engineering.
Building on Huntsville’s remarkable momentum, it is essential for UAH to continue to meet the region’s educational, workforce, and research needs. A new engineering building will help us conduct impactful research efforts and recruit and graduate exceptional students who meet the region’s growing high-tech workforce needs. I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to provide this remarkable facility for our outstanding students, faculty, and staff.
Dr. Chuck Karr, UAH Acting President
As UAH’s flagship program, officials said the expansion fosters innovation in emerging technical areas currently supported by the University, including unmanned aerial systems, big data, hypersonics, and technology. ‘artificial intelligence.
The preliminary budget for the project has a cost of $59.3 million, of which $18 million will come from additional Alabama funds signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday, April 14. According to the UAH, other sources of funding will include previously appropriated funds from the state, donations to the University, and University reserve funds.
The first phase of the project includes plans to replace the Wernher von Braun Research Hall, which dates back to 1964. The new research building is currently planned to be built to the west of the existing engineering building, next to the campus lake along from John Wright Drive and Charger Way. .
As the preferred site of US Space Command and home to Redstone Arsenal and Cummings Research Park, Huntsville is a STEM powerhouse with a critical need for talented science, cyber, and engineering professionals. The continued growth of this knowledge-based economy requires a significant increase in the number of STEM graduates. With the vast majority of UAH graduates remaining in our state, expanding and improving the university’s engineering facilities will directly fill our community’s labor pool.
Alabama State Senator Tom Butler
Pending approval from UA system administrators, phase two of the project would include plans for the full renovation of the existing engineering building.
UAH officials said the need for a new building is critical to continue providing a highly skilled workforce to the state — 72% of alumni reside in Alabama — and help meet demands future, as Alabama is expected to need more than 850,000 STEM-related jobs by 2026.
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