Construction of Missouri S&T’s newest lab has officially begun. The 16,000 square foot Advanced Construction and Materials Lab (ACML), an addition to Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Hall, had its groundbreaking - or rather concrete pour - ceremony on October 12th, during this year’s Miner Fest Homecoming. The new ACML will greatly benefit students and faculty in the Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering (CArEE) Department by providing ample opportunities for research and development of new construction materials. Advances in cement-based materials are necessary in creating a more sustainable future. The new ACML will encourage collaborative efforts for creating and implementing next-generation infrastructure solutions.
The CArEE Department chair and Curator’s Distinguished Professor, Dr. Joel Burken, expressed his confidence in the new lab expansion at its groundbreaking ceremony, “We looked to increase our capabilities in teaching and research, and that is largely related to our facilities. Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering are all large scale fields, where we really engineer the world we live in... thus our motto of Change the World! Being infrastructure experimentalists, the facilities here are going to allow us to advance our teaching and research and generate new knowledge and educate the next generation of Miner alumni that we fully expect to go out and Change the World.”
Missouri S&T contracted the Advanced Construction and Materials Lab with Hastings+Chivetta Architects, Inc., based in St. Louis, to bring to life the ideas and concepts for the new project. Thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the laboratory will feature 35 new pieces of lab equipment. UM System President Mun Y. Choi identified the ACML as a strategic investment for the system and committed $1.6 million to the expansion.
Contributions from donors, such as those described above, are what make the success in constructing the new lab possible. Clayco Inc., a company that employees many graduates from Missouri S&T’s CArEE Department, graciously donated $2 million for fundraising for the new construction. ARCO Construction Co., another company filled with graduates from the CArEE department, made a $300,000 contribution in support of the research facility. A bequest made by James A. Heidman, a 1965 civil engineering graduate, made it possible so that donations to the lab were matched in value.
“Mr. Heidman’s bequest was instrumental to funding this lab, as well as faculty endowments in the department,” expresses Dr. Burken, “We are deeply grateful for his legacy gift in support of both facilities and faculty expertise.”
Other primary donors deserving of Missouri S&T’s gratitude include Paul Pender, Charles ‘Bill’ Bennett, Concrete Strategies, Sunderland Foundation, Tom Feger, Geotechnology Inc., Sam Hutson, Tom Abernathy, Ranny McDonough (McDonough Engineering), Jimmy Murray, David Sheahen, Randy Dreiling, and Tom Abernathy. Financial support from these generous donors provides opportunities in innovation that the Advanced Construction and Materials Lab will make achievable.
Expected to take two years to complete, the Advanced Construction and Materials Lab will make Missouri S&T a pioneer and a leader in construction materials and methods research. The laboratory will support sustainable development on highways, railroads, bridges, airports, utility infrastructure, and water navigation channels. As the motto, “Change the World,” suggests, the next generation of students at the university are given the chance to really make a difference in the future of infrastructure and in turn, incur change in the world - all of which, Dr. Burken is very confident of.
“I’m wholeheartedly confident they can and will do that,” explains Dr. Burken, “because they are coming from a legacy of doing exactly that very thing, as Miner alumni - and alumni from Civil Engineering, in particular - have been changing the world for the better for almost 150 years.”