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Work begins on $80 million, donor-funded BYU engineering building

PROVO — Nathaniel Gates gathered with fellow BYU engineering students Monday at a groundbreaking ceremony for a long-awaited engineering building.

“Lab space is more valuable than gold,” the master's candidate state. “It’s a finite resource, and you can't just create it.”

Gates, who's planning for a career in business/economics and technology after getting a doctorate, said he looks forward to the expansion of the engineering college.

Temporary buildings behind the school's current engineering building, the W.W. Clyde Building, will be demolished with the construction of the new building.

At $80 million project is being funded entirely by donors and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018. The 200,000-square-foot building will be five stories tall at its highest point.

Alan Parkinson, dean of the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering of Technology, said the new building will offer a growing number of engineering students more lab space, with 38 percent of the building being devoted to laboratories.

The project will include an annex building used only for laboratory work, Parkinson said. Another 27 percent of the larger building will be used for classrooms, projects and hands-on learning.

Parkinson said the four-year fundraising for the building was a "university-wide project."

"At some critical points, there were some other colleges that made significant donations to help us reach our goal," he said. "That was very moving to me, and I think was key for us to reaching the goal of $80 million."

The new building will help fulfill the engineering school's 10-year-old need for more laboratory space, university officials said.

The new building will replace the Knight Mangum Building, which once stood just south of the Clyde Building. Additionally, the building will include 158 faculty administrative offices, which will help provide space for the College of Engineering and Technology's 113 faculty members, and 66 staff and administrative personnel, according to BYU officials.

The new building will also include a student innovation floor to house tools and resources for the engineering school's more than 4,000 students, BYU officials said.

The new engineering building, which has not yet been named, will accommodate admissions growth, support ongoing research and allow more "experiential learning" for the students to take place, Parkinson said.

"Engineering and technology at BYU has a very bright future," he said. "There are lots of opportunities here. We have wonderful students. We have terrific faculty. And now we are going to have state-of-the-art facilities."