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First look: coover hall

Campus landmark reopens with more space, upgraded technology

Coover Hall has been transformed. The former industrial arts building, constructed in 1938, reopens this fall with a larger footprint, updated utilities, state-of-the-art technology and a bold new look.

New construction added more than 4,200 square feet, and moving a steam line doubled the studio and classroom space on the lower level.

The building is air conditioned. An elevator improves access. High-efficiency windows bring natural light into 90% of the interior, and energy-saving LED lamps brighten remodeled hallways, classrooms and labs.

The main floor provides space for the mechatronics engineering technology, industrial technology and technology education programs, including a STEM/Clean Prototyping Lab where students can work with 3D printers, laser engravers, a digital flatbed cutter and a small-format CNC milling machine.

The Physical Technologies Lab is equipped for light fabrication; a separate room is designed for working with metals, plastics and woods on a larger scale.

Coover also houses art and graphic design courses, with studios for jewelry-making and sculpture/3D design on the lower level.

Throughout the building, the latest technology has been installed in “smart” classrooms and instructional computer labs.

The two-year, $11 million project was funded through the state Department of General Services, with an additional $1.1 million allocated for built-in furnishings. Robert Thorn, vice president for Administration and Finance, calls it “a significant investment in our instructional core.”

The building’s past has not been erased. New brickwork and windows mimic its original design. The original brass banister and display cases stand just inside the heavy front doors. But the interior is bright, sleek and streamlined, with a contemporary industrial style.

“Coover Hall was constructed for the industrial arts program – the original STEM education,” says Joseph Schickel, chair of the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology.

“It will continue to serve as a modern, advanced facility for teaching and learning in technology areas.”

— By Christine Kindl, VP for Communications and Marketing