The construction to complete renovations on Patrick F. Taylor Hall is set to begin in November, said Richard Koubek, dean of the College of Engineering.
The renovations, funded by $52.5 million raised by the “Breaking New Ground” campaign and an equal amount matched by the state, are part of a plan to expand the College of Engineering, which currently has the largest number of undergraduates at the University, Koubek said.
Koubek said based on freshmen enrollment, he predicts in four to five years the college will be graduating 1,150 engineers into the workforce, almost double the current 650 to 700 graduates. The new building will have office spaces for 200 faculty members, 60 more than currently, he said.
Three things influenced the expansion of the college: the demand for engineers in the workforce, which is essential to the expansion of the state economy, the growing number of students who declare engineering as their major and the need for more faculty members and space to facilitate the growth in the other two areas, Koubek said. The college plans to begin hiring for the new positions in fall 2014.
Koubek said there’s a 40 percent increase in enrollment in the last four years, and the fall 2014 applicants are up 20 percent from last year.
LSU President F. King Alexander said in January the University was planning to hire about 100 new faculty members for next year, a part of which will replace retiring faculty members, but many will be additions to the University in colleges that have the highest student demand.
Koubek said the new building will have new equipment in all of the laboratories, an 80,000 square-foot extension separate from the original Patrick F. Taylor Hall primarily for chemical engineering and classrooms designed to facilitate more group work.
“The traditional ‘sit in front of the faculty member and listen to us talk’ way of teaching is fading,” Koubek said. “The opportunity to be much more interactive, hands on and experiential is much more important to our curriculum now, and the building needs to allow LSU students the opportunity to do that.”