By JAMES E. CASTO
For The State Journal
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University officials say construction of the school's new Engineering Complex is on schedule for completion in spring 2015.
When it's completed, the four-story, $50 million Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex will be one of the largest buildings on the MU campus. It will have more than 145,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, office and special applications spaces.
A Charleston company, BBL Carlton, is erecting the structure, located on the north side of 3rd Avenue between the Arthur Weisberg Family Engineering Laboratories and the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center.
University officials say Carlton is erecting the building's steel superstructure, then building floors and installing electrical, plumbing and duct work. It's expected the building will be enclosed by mid-December. Ground was broken for the complex in October 2012.
Marshall President Stephen Kopp has predicated the new facility will have "a transformative effect on the College of Information Technology and Engineering and science-related disciplines."
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is providing $25 million for construction of the complex. Marshall has $13 million from the sale of bonds and is working to raise $12 million in private donations.
Shortly before his death late last year, Huntington businessman Art Weisberg made a major gift to the fundraising effort, and in response the Marshall Board of Governors approved naming the new complex for Weisberg and his family. The Weisbergs also helped underwrite construction of the current Marshall engineering lab facility, which bears the family name.
Tentative plans call for connecting the current engineering lab and the new complex, either by an enclosed lobby or outdoor canopy.
The completed complex will house six different academic components:
Completion of the complex will mean Marshall will have added more than $100 million in academic facilities on the north side of 3rd Avenue from Hal Greer Boulevard to the parking garage across from Cam Henderson Center in just a little more than eight years. The Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center opened in 2006, and the Arthur Weisberg Family Engineering Laboratories opened in 2008.
The site of the Engineering Complex was previously a parking lot. University officials have said they would have liked to undertake construction of the complex sooner but had to wait until the school's new parking garage on 6th Avenue was completed. The new garage provided replacement parking spaces lost on the 3rd Avenue lot.