S.C. State unveils $24.5 M science complex

2013-02-02T05:15:00Z S.C. State unveils $24.5 M science complexBy DALE LINDER-ALTMAN, T&D Staff Writer The Times and Democrat
February 02, 2013 5:15 am  • 

“It’s a quantum leap,” said Dr. Saliman Isa, an electrical engineering professor at South Carolina State University.

“You are down here,” he said as he pointed to the floor. “Then, all of a sudden, you are up here,” he said, and he pointed to the ceiling.

Isa was comparing the aging Crawford Hall to the university’s new, bright and airy Engineering and Computer Science Complex.

The science and math departments moved from Crawford into the new complex this week. Some final work is still going on at the complex.

Isa said the move has brought about an amazing change in his students.

“You can see the energy,” he said. “They’re relaxed. They’re ready to learn.”

The new $24.5 million, 86,500-square-foot complex includes 10 classrooms, 28 laboratories, 81 faculty offices and a 215-seat auditorium. It houses the Center for Energy Studies and the Center for Modern Manufacturing, as well as the departments of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology, Mathematics & Computer Science and Industrial & Electrical Engineering Technology.

Interim Dean Stanley Ihekweazu called the new facility “state of the art.”

“You can conduct scientific experiments anywhere if you have the equipment,” he said. “But when you have it in a building that’s new, that has all the amenities, that has all the space you need ... it offers you limitless opportunities to admit students and give them the instruction they need to succeed.”

Having all faculty offices located together is an advantage because it encourages collaboration in grant writing and research, according to Ihekweazu.

In the past, professors were scattered throughout three different buildings, he said.

Professors and students were quick to praise the new building after a dedication ceremony and open house on Friday morning.

Some of them said they loved it just because the complex was new. Others said they loved the many windows, which made the building seem open.

Isa, who collaborates in micro-electronics research with Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, said the new building provides space for his research.

He said he’s had to turn down equipment that Oak Ridge wanted to give him in the past because he didn’t have anywhere to put it.

The new building “provides us with a lot of opportunity to be able to explore,” he said. “You can bring things in to test – to just be curious.”

Dr. Ali Eliadorani, a civil engineering professor, said he loves having everything new. The many labs are another advantage, he said.

But the thing that he appreciates the most is a solid roof.

“In the old building, we had a problem with the roof and ceiling when it rained,” he said. “When I applied for research equipment, I was afraid that it would get wet when they brought it.”

But Eliadorani said he thinks the major advantage of the new building is that it will attract new students.

“When you’re in those old buildings and a student comes to look around, they may not feel good about coming here,” he said.

Jasmine McKinzie, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering technology, said she feels she’ll do better in her studies because of the improved facilities and supplies.

Senior Caldwell McFadden noted that Crawford Hall offered students opportunities, but “you have everything here.”

Crawford didn’t have enough classrooms and science and math students often had to cross campus to reach other buildings for some of their classes, he said.

Austin Passmore and Desmond Anderson said the thing they like about the new building is that the heating and air conditioning works. That wasn’t the case in Crawford, they said.

“It took a long time to get it built,” said Anderson, who’s a senior. “I’m glad it was before I graduated.”

Shaquaisha Woods said she loves the student lounges located on each floor.

“You don’t have to go back to your room after every class,” she said.

The complex was long overdue, Marcies Wright said.

Like Woods, he loves the many-windowed lounges.

“I’m an outdoor person and it’s very open,” he said. “Three sides are glass, so it’s open and light.”

Dwayne Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC, was the keynote speaker at Friday’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

He spoke about the value of partnerships between SRNS and the university.

S.C. State interim President Dr. Cynthia Warrick and Dr. Walter L. Tobin, chairman of the Board of Trustees, also took part in the program.

The Fluor Corporation donated $155,000 through the SRS Foundation for the naming of the auditorium in the new complex.

Additionally, SRNS donated $25,000 to develop the Center for Energy Studies, which includes the study and production of biodiesel fuel, hydrogen fuel cells, solar energy initiatives and the production of hydrogen through switchgrass and agriculture waste products.

Contact the writer: dlinder-altman@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5529.

Copyright 2015 The Times and Democrat. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

  1. iDog76
    Report Abuse
    iDog76 - February 03, 2013 10:29 am
    This is one of the challenges in higher education - online doctorate degrees. Somehow just sitting behind a computer to get a degree may leave out well-trained and well-schooled persons whose ability to read and think contribute to superb academies. Just saying.
  2. iDog76
    Report Abuse
    iDog76 - February 03, 2013 10:16 am
    LB, let me reiterate, shinton06 diminished his attempt to congratulate SCSU with the second part of his statement. A positive and a negative won't generate a positive. Readers can only evaluate that written. If shinton06 wanted impact, he would have simply stated the positive. You can reread the comments; they're rather clear. Whether persons have the ability to think critically through it and evaluate what was written may be the challenge. "Ask iDog!" I like that idea. Thanks. Get Ready T&D.
  3. LoyalBulldog
    Report Abuse
    LoyalBulldog - February 03, 2013 3:32 am
    Poor shinton06. He/she should have known idog is so smart and would find a criticism. I would advise anyone seeking to comment about sc state, to run it by idog first. That way you can get his approval and will not run counter to his vast knowledge and expertise on sc state.

    Shinton06, great comment and your observations were correct.
  4. iDog76
    Report Abuse
    iDog76 - February 02, 2013 10:41 pm
    It's unfortunate that shinton06 in his attempt to congratulate SCSU excused in himself what he accused of others. It appears his motive was not to congratulate SCSU but to direct "negative" comments at those who do have more knowledge and experience than he does about SCSU, thus diminishing his best wishes that are banal attempts to chastise and chasten. In this regard, his observations are a weak and meaningless characterization.
  5. truthorjustice
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    truthorjustice - February 02, 2013 3:20 pm
    This is wonderful.

    But, are they going to name it after Clyburn?
  6. shinton06
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    shinton06 - February 02, 2013 1:57 pm
    Congratulations alma mater and I'm glad to see this building come to fruition! Interesting there are no comments. I guess it's only when negative things are happening that comments will be added!
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