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DATE: Oct. 17, 2003

U-M Regents approve expansion of engineering facilities at the University of Michigan-Dearborn

DEARBORN---The College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn will build an addition with a total of 46,000 gross square feet to house the campus's Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems, dedicated laboratories and engineering classrooms.

The addition to the campus's Engineering Laboratory Building was approved by the U-M Regents at their Oct. 16 meeting in Flint.

Cost on the project is $12.6 million, with 75 percent of the funding coming from the state of Michigan. The campus will fund the remaining 25 percent. Construction is expected to begin next summer and be completed in 2006.

"This project reflects the need among our students and external stakeholders for facilities that will allow them to tackle the current and future challenges facing the auto industry," according to Subrata M. Sengupta, dean of the UM-Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science. "It also reflects the significant growth in our enrollment in the last few years, and the research activity of our faculty has expanded considerably as well."

Enrollment in the UM-Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science has nearly doubled since 1990. At the graduate level, the number of students has grown from approximately 250 to nearly 1,000 over that period, reflecting the higher technology content of today's automotive products.

Among other facilities, the addition will include dedicated laboratories for vehicle electronics, auto safety, ergonomics and powertrains. It will include a flexible open bay area to accommodate equipment used for teaching and research on manufacturing issues, spaces that will allow undergraduate students to design and assemble projects for national competitions and classrooms that will provide electronically mediated instruction.

The campus's Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems was created to accelerate applied research in the areas of product development and manufacturing. The Institute focuses on systems engineering related to the design, development and manufacturing of complex vehicles, and its faculty associates conduct research related to body and chassis systems, manufacturing processes, and integration with powertrain systems.

The building was designed by Terry Sargent of the firm Lord, Aeck and Sargent Architecture, and features windows, bricks and cast concrete elements that harmonize with the existing architecture on the Dearborn campus.

The 30-foot-high bay space for the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems has a circular form to accommodate an efficient rotating overhead crane.

"Adjacent to the high bay are specialized laboratory spaces, separated from the high bay space by glazed walls to share light and showcase the activities within," according to Sargent. "An atrium bisects the building, creating links to exterior and interior campus pedestrian paths, while highlighting the manufacturing, research and public functions. The exposed structure of the high bay and atrium spaces further demonstrates the engineering aspects of the building."

NOTE TO MEDIA: Please click on photos to access high-resolution images. Renderings supplied by U-M Plant Extension office and Lord, Aeck and Sargent Architecture.

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