A public ceremony to unveil the $22 million addition and renovation to the Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Building at the University of Missouri-Rolla was held Friday, Sept. 12, in the building’s Kummer Atrium. The event was followed by a dinner the next evening with featured speaker U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, a strong advocate for UMR’s engineering programs.
The 143,000-square-foot structure is a working "laboratory" in which even the hallways are designed to teach engineering.
"Just by walking down the hall, our students can learn about buildings," says Dr. William Schonberg, chair of UMR’s civil, architectural and environmental engineering department.
The $22 million addition and renovation to the Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Building, which houses the UMR civil, architectural and environmental engineering department, features computerized "smart boards" in many classrooms, is outfitted for wireless computing, and features transparent architecture designed to teach students about construction and structural engineering even as they pass through the structure.
The renovated, expanded building also features some of the most modern civil engineering research facilities in Missouri and surrounding states, Schonberg says. Those facilities include a three-story high-bay structures laboratory, which allows researchers to conduct heavy-duty testing of full-scale steel beams and other large construction materials; an expanded hydraulics laboratory designed for the real-time study of rainfall; a rooftop greenhouse for the study of wetlands and environment-cleansing trees; and interconnected environmental engineering laboratories and classrooms.
"Many of these laboratories are the largest and most comprehensive research facilities in the region," says Schonberg.
In addition, the new building brings "95 percent of all our research under one roof," Schonberg says. Previously, several faculty members had to conduct research in other laboratories across campus.
Originally opened in 1960 — before the era of computers, wireless technology or centralized air-conditioning — the building was named the Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Building in 1978 in honor of former civil engineering chairs Joe B. Butler and E.W. "Skip" Carlton. The renovation and expansion project began in the fall of 1999.
The newly completed structure includes 100,000 square feet of new space that includes 29 classrooms, the three-story structures laboratory, the hydraulics lab and an expanded construction materials laboratory. The 43,000 square feet of renovated space includes a student advising complex, computer learning centers, a geotechnical engineering laboratory, graduate research offices and labs, a senior design lab, large classrooms, the Needles Seminar Room (named after 1914 civil engineering graduate Enoch Needles), student lounge areas, and two new lecture halls named for prominent alumni: the Gunther Lecture Hall, funded through a gift from 1960 UMR civil engineering graduate Don Gunther and his wife Rosemary, and the Neil Stueck Lecture Hall, funded through the estate of Cornelius S.P. Stueck, a 1943 civil engineering graduate.
The centerpiece of the new addition is an expansive atrium, funded through a gift from Fred Kummer, a 1955 civil engineering graduate and president of HBE Corp. in St. Louis, and his wife June.
Funding for the $22 million building consisted of $4.5 million in private gifts and $17.5 in state funding, secured in the 1990s.