by Jessica Quinn
Manhattan College is in the process of renovating a new civil and environmental engineering lab as a means to accommodate the increase in student enrollment within the last few years.
The civil and environmental departments need more room for students in the junior-specific soil mechanics class. The new lab is also needed due to the gradual increase of students enrolling in both the undergraduate and graduate levels at MC.
The construction of the new lab was made possible through a donation by the Construction Industry Golf Tournament. The funds for the new geotechnical engineering laboratory were provided by sources entirely outside of the college.
Anirban De, Chairman of the civil and environmental departments, assisted the plans for the construction of the new lab. He plans on giving tours of the lab in order to impress prospective students and parents of Manhattan College.
“I am letting the experience sink in, going to the lab whenever I have some time to arrange things. I am also looking forward to giving tours of this lab to prospective students and their parents,” said De. “I am sure this lab will impress them about the quality of hands-on engineering learning that students get in our College.”
The equipment in the old lab has been outdated for quite some time and was due for renovation. The testing equipment is brand new in the lab and allows for students to make precise measurements of soil properties, which is very important in civil engineering projects.
“We have hundreds of thousands of dollars of analytical equipment in our labs and some of it is quite old. We’ve spent a lot of money and time maintaining it. So, that’ll be replaced with newer, less maintenance intensive systems,” said Robert Sharp, a professor in the civil and environmental department.
The new lab will also help in regards to research projects administered by the staff and students of the college.
“It will give the opportunity for some of the younger faculty to give them additional space and resources to build their research program. It will help undergraduates and graduates do more research, as well,” said Sharp.
Many of the research being developed at Manhattan College is funded by external forces like the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Civil and Environmental Science and private firms. Therefore, it’s important that the faculty has an updated facility to record their findings.
“In the old lab, students were depressed about their learning environment and felt that their needs were being overlooked. The new equipment will increase student interest in the experiments they will perform here,” said De.
After the finalization of the new lab the civil and environmental department is awaiting the new engineering and science complex on south campus, which is expected to be complete by the year 2020.
“It will help as a resource for the students to have a dedicated lab with the proper software and hardware installed to help with scholastic learning,” said Kyaw Sithu, a senior civil engineering student. “It will also help to cultivate a better learning environment.”