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The Way to Engineering 5

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

Tuesday, October 19th marked the grand opening of the new engineering building, Engineering 5. The day featured speeches by our Dean of Engineering, Dr. Adel Sedra; the newly elected president of the university, Feridun Hamdullaphur; a member of the Dean’s advisory council, Savvas Chamberlain; and representation by the student body through the director of WEEF, Praveen Arichandran.

Students, alumni, faculty and staff were all welcomed with food and refreshments as Engineering 5 was explained from the vision to the final product. Engineering 5 was one of the key focuses of the Faculty’s Vision 2010 project. Once the speeches were completed, the visitors were welcomed to tour the facility, guided by student and faculty volunteers, or wander as they wished through the six floors. There were members of each of the faculties and student teams present in their respective areas ready to answer questions that the visitors may have had about the building or particular student teams. It was an enjoyable day with many visitors, enthusiastic speeches and close to 700 cupcakes that conveniently spelled E5.

The 176 000 sq.ft building was designed by Andrew Fontini, an architecture alumnus from Waterloo. However, the design of Engineering 5 was far from the first step; the vision for Engineering 5 began long before that. This project began in 2006, when David Johnston and Adel Sedra agreed upon a $120 million dollar fund raising plan that would not only benefit undergraduate students, but faculty, staff, graduate students and members of the community. The purpose of Vision 2010 was to further identify Waterloo as an internationally recognized university and the best school for undergraduate engineering studies in Canada.

Vision 2010:

Vision 2010 featured a large sum of donation money that would go towards all members of the University of Waterloo community. These included donations towards the graduate programs, expanding the research programs, enriching the student experience and the building of three new engineering facilities.

The graduate programs would see a $29 million dollar donation towards their scholarship program. This would be enough to create 209 new graduate scholarships in order to attract more graduate students to Waterloo. This would be matched by the University, effectively doubling the donation.

Through the Vision 2010 campaign, the research program would double their funding. This $30 million dollar donation would go towards 20 endowed chairs for each faculty. This fund would also be matched by the university, raising the donation to $60 million.

Undergraduate students benefit from the Vision 2010 project in multiple ways, the first being the enrichment of the programs through the Rome program endowment and the CBET challenge. The Rome program endowment goes towards Waterloo’s architecture students, where the students travel to Rome in third year for a semester to study at Waterloo’s studio. Through Vision 2010, the Rome program would see a $5 million dollar donation. The CBET challenge would receive a 500 000 dollar donation, which would go towards Waterloo’s Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology.

The main donations from Vision 2010 would go towards three new buildings dedicated to engineering, Engineering 5, Engineering 6 and Engineering 7. This would be the largest physical expansion in Waterloo Engineering’s history.

Engineering 5 Construction:

The construction of Engineering 5 began two years ago, when David Johnston, former president of the university, and Dean Adel Sedra dug their shovels into the parking lot that is now Engineering 5. In total, this building’s construction value would reach close to a quarter of a billion dollars.

Engineering 5 is now complete and students have already started to take advantage of its many new facilities and services. Engineering 5 is dedicated to three of waterloo’s engineering departments. Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering are located on the 3rd floor, the Electric and Computer Engineering Department on the 4th and 5th floor, and Systems Design Engineering on the 6th floor. Each of the floors are joined by a very large black and white staircase that runs up from the 2nd to the 6th floor. The building also features some interestingly coloured new washrooms, for both genders, on each floor. However, the focus of this building is the 20 000 sq.ft Student Design Centre featured on the first floor.

The Student Design Centre

The Student Design Centre, or SDC, is dedicated to the undergraduate students of Waterloo Engineering. The purpose of the SDC is to allow the teams to work in an environment that allows them to collaborate ideas and resources. This kind of interaction has never been possible before at the university. Teams can now work in an open environment, instead of the seemingly random places that they were located before, spread amongst the other engineering buildings around Waterloo. With the addition of the SDC, came a new director position, which was given to Dr. Peter Teertstra, a professor of the mechanical engineering department. The main area of the Centre features individual bays for many of the Engineering Student Teams. Some of these teams include; the Midnight Sun Solar Car Team, the Waterloo Clean Snowmobile Team, Formula SAE, U.W.A.F.T, the Mini Baja team, Waterloo Aerial Robotics and various other teams. Other teams like the Waterloo robotics team and the UW Nano Robotics team have been given space in other areas of the building, allowing them to still benefit from this new facility.

The SDC also features a number of different services that can be used by the undergraduate students at Waterloo. These include two new dynomometer lab rooms, several engine building rooms, a sanding room, a painting room, and the new student machine shop donated by WEEF.

Throughout the Vision 2010 plan, the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund, WEEF, donated a total of $1 million dollars towards Engineering 5, which was matched by the Dean and again by the University for a total of $4 million dollars.

The second floor of Engineering 5 holds the donor wall, which features any alumni that have donated over $1000 to the University and any other large private donations made towards Vision 2010. The second floor also features the Aecon Atrium, the Waterloo robotics team, a shared office space available to the student teams, a new CAD studio, an electronics assembly and test lab with a brand new array of oscilloscopes and other testing equipment and a large computer lab located just inside the main entrance.

Vision 2010 is not yet complete, but new features of the $120 million dollar project are seen each day. One such addition is with the second of the three buildings, Engineering 6, scheduled to open in fall of 2011.

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