Students in the Fall 2021 Engineering Design for Service class watched from their McMichael classroom window as the first brick was laid for Elon’s new Innovation Quad.
Vivian Krause, a sophomore at the time, said the engineering class was in tears over the excitement of having their own space next fall.
“It’s cool to see the building come up so fast, and now we can move in and I have two more years here in college to enjoy it,” Krause said. “Having everything in the same space will add to the tight-knit community of engineers here…it’s a big step up from McMichael’s basement.”
Since August 1, Elon has established his own engineering department alongside the opening of the new Engineering and Physics Research Center.
Before opening this fall, Krause had a few opportunities to see inside the quad, including participating in a building tour last spring with Elon’s engineering advisory board.
“It was really cool to go inside,” Krause said. “The only thing we had seen before was drawings… Excitement was high, and teachers were like, ‘Oh, this is going to be my office’ or ‘I’m going to teach in there’.”
Krause also heard about the thinking that went into the building’s design in relation to surrounding buildings on campus — such as being between the McMichael Science Center and Sankey Hall.
“It was all very intentional with where it is on campus and the buildings it is between,” Krause said. “It’s supposed to be the link between business and science to do innovation.”
Engineering Director John Ring also said the new space would do wonders in bringing together Elon’s engineering programs and expanding them in the future. According to Ring, Elon had about 100 engineering students at the end of the 2021-22 school year, with about 48 incoming engineering freshmen this year — Elon’s largest incoming engineering class to date.
As it approaches its third year at Elon, Ring will have a new office in the Innovation Quad. Both Ring and Krause said they’re very excited to get everyone together in the same building this fall, instead of being spread across McMichael, Duke, and Alamance.
“We’ve all been really excited about it since – I guess last year when they were working on the build – but it’s something they told us would happen when we applied” , Krause said. “Now it’s two years later, and it’s actually built, and the teachers are moving in, and we’re going to have classes there in the fall, and it’s really exciting.”
Krause said her favorite parts of the new space are the second-floor patios because she likes to do her work outside, and it’s a big, spacious space with tons of light.
For students and faculty who aren’t in the engineering field but want to experience the new space, Ring said he recommends visiting the staircase in the middle of the building which sits directly below a skylight. natural and combined with glass walls on two sides that change color. throughout the day depending on ambient light.
While Krause is thrilled that engineering opportunities are growing and evolving at Elon, she said she still appreciates Elon’s small class size and appreciates that the university has made the effort to maintain that environment with the new engineering building.
“It means a lot. It shows that we’re growing to the point where we have our own building,” Krause said. hard to make sure we still have that small school feeling with our engineering program, but it will take us to the next level in terms of research and the classroom spaces we have.