Published January 21, 2022
To accommodate the continued growth of its School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, UB is moving ahead with plans to construct a new building for the school on the North Campus.
The effort took a major step forward earlier this month when Gov. Kathy Hochul announced funding for the $102 million project in her State of the State address. The support is part of a broader initiative focusing on SUNY, including naming UB and Stony Brook University as flagships of the system.
“We are extremely grateful to Gov. Hochul for her steadfast support of the University at Buffalo and our mission of excellence,” President Satish K. Tripathi says. “As both the reputation of our engineering school and the demand for engineering professionals have continued to rise — statewide, nationally and globally — one of my foremost priorities has been a new academic building for our engineering students that will foster innovative collaborations, trailblazing research and robust entrepreneurial activities.
“The state’s commitment to this major endeavor, alongside its designation of UB as a flagship of the SUNY system, will surely fuel our ambition to situate UB among the top 25 public research universities in the nation,” Tripathi says.
The building will be located near existing engineering buildings on the North Campus. Its size, exact location and a timeline for construction are still being determined.
The building will accommodate growth at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which in the past 10 years has seen undergraduate student enrollment increase by 60%, and graduate student enrollment grow by 110%.
During the fall 2021 semester, the school enrolled 4,780 undergraduates and 2,621 graduate students.
Designed to be a hub for student activity, the new building will feature an “engineering commons,” which will include collaborative spaces for student clubs, as well as maker space, student support services and programs that support entrepreneurism and student startups, says Dean Kemper Lewis.
“This new building will become the home for all students interested in engineering and computer science. It will be a place where students are invited to gather, collaborate and work as a singular community driven by their curiosity,” he says. “It will be a home that welcomes and supports students at every step of their education to ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”
Lewis explains the building will help the school to continue to attract a more diverse student body, which in turn will help diversify the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce, including the more than 15,000 graduates who work in New York State.
To demonstrate its commitment to being close to students, he says the dean’s offices will move from Davis Hall into the new building, as will the school’s offices of undergraduate and graduate education, and the Department of Engineering Education, which is now located in Capen Hall.
In a press release coinciding with the funding announcement, Hochul said such investments will help ensure SUNY institutions, such as UB, further cement their place as leading public research universities.
“We must seize this moment to revitalize SUNY, lifting up students from a broad and diverse range of backgrounds while at the same time transforming the institution into a global, 21st-century educational leader,” Hochul said.