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Engineering Impact Report

A Master Plan


Strategic planning isn't limited to what an organization will do, but where it will do it. The School of Engineering's strategic plan led to a new master plan for Kettering Labs as well - a plan that is being implemented in phases to maximize efficiency and minimize disruption to academics.

As both the School of Engineering and Research Institute grew over the years, the spaces they co-occupied in Kettering Labs became more crowded and less cohesive. Faculty and staff from growing departments like electrical and computer engineering found themselves in four different spaces over two floors. The Research Institute simply ran out of space.

Research Institute employees began vacating Kettering Labs as renovations were completed on the former NCR headquarters (now Curran Place), freeing the School to reimagine a more efficient and user-friendly allocation of space.

"The master plan for the building came out of our strategic planning discussions," said Stephanie McChesney, director of safety and facilities, who has overseen implementation of the plan after approval from the provost's office.

The plan, the bulk of which is being implemented over three fiscal years starting in FY18, calls for academic departments to be co-located in contiguous office spaces, consolidating dean's office personnel on the 5th floor, moving the ETHOS Center to a visible location on the first floor, updating 16 of 18 classrooms and creating new student study spaces.

In phase one, the Office of Student Success, the Diversity in Engineering Center, the Visioneering Center, and the Office of Cooperative Education relocated next to the Dean's and Associate dean's offices on the fifth floor. All spaces were remodeled, with the exception of the dean's office, to provide employees with fresh paint, carpet, and, in some cases, furniture.

The first academic department to get a new home was the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Chair Eric Balster, who himself was assigned an office in mechanical engineering when he was hired at UD, is "ecstatic" to have his department together.

"The renovation gave us a space that's lively and welcoming," Balster said. "I see faculty wandering into each other's offices to chat and share ideas. We have space available for new hires and space to comfortably welcome visitors. It's a more supportive environment."

Over the next two years, the other four undergraduate academic departments will co-locate in renovated spaces with the majority of work being done over summer and winter breaks. Like ECE, the entrances to each department will be located to be highly visible when exiting the stairwells and elevators.

With co-funding from the provost's office, classrooms are receiving fresh paint, carpet and new technology over the next two summers as well. At least one classroom will be converted from a lecture to collaborative setup with tables and chairs in response to faculty requests for more flexible space.

Finally, the College of Arts and Sciences is funding a gut/remodel of the building next to Kettering Labs to re-locate its Department of Computer Science. The College is adding a connector to join that building to the School of Engineering, making for easy access between the two buildings and creating shared study and lounge spaces.

"With computer science and computer engineering being so closely aligned, having the Department of Computer Science next door opens up all kinds of opportunities for research and shared classroom and laboratory spaces," said Stephanie McChesney, director of facilities. 


School of Engineering

Kettering Laboratories
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0254