Construction is advancing on a three-story addition to Indiana Tech's Zollner Engineering Center.

The $21.5 project will more than double the size of the engineering center. Ground was broken in May.

The project includes all the new, state-of-the-art equipment necessary to teach the ever widening engineering disciplines. It also covers renovation of the initial section of the building that was built in 1958 and an addition constructed in 2002.

Phase I of the project, a 30,000-square-foot addition, is expected to be ready for occupancy in August 2022. Renovation on the original section of the building, Phase II, will follow with the renovation of the 2002 addition, Phase III, to complete the project.

In addition to the new structure, the College of Engineering has a new dean. She’s Ying Shang, who came to Tech in June from the University of Evansville where she was dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science for the past three years. She’s just one of 80 female deans of engineering among the 300 engineering schools throughout the nation based on records of the American Society for Engineering Education in 2020.

The addition, which will have no traditional classrooms, features 28 labs for manufacturing and automation, materials/solid mechanics, biomedical engineering, exercise science, robotics design, engineering innovation and engineering design workshop all on the ground floor. First-floor labs include digital forensics, computer science, computer science projects, software engineering, power controls, life sciences, network operations, data center supporting computer science programs, 3-D design and physics. Labs on the second floor are projects, circuits, analytical/organic chemistry, PLC, chemistry, CAD and engineering, information systems, cell and molecular biology and forensics and microbiology.

“We are not only building lab spaces with the latest technology,” Shang said, “but we’re building innovation, inspiration and Indiana Tech’s future. The expansion and renovation of Zollner Engineering Center will dramatically elevate our teaching in STEM education and foster new discoveries that will be relevant to top companies in the region. Tech will be building a talent workforce that will help drive Fort Wayne area economic development in the future.”

She added that “gathering spaces, collaboration areas, state-of-the-art labs and glass-lined corridors in the new addition will connect students."

"The new 24-hour computer and activity areas will foster students’ collaboration and help us cross boundaries among disciplines. Freshmen are already working in our labs, something that is uncommon in larger universities,” she added.

In addition, a new mechatronics and robotics engineering program will start in the fall of 2022, along with various certificate programs in cybersecurity, data analytics and information management. The addition will also enable new programs in health science fields, computer sciences, information technology, programmable logic and nursing.

“We’re growing, but we intend to keep our class size at around 17. We’ve found that smaller classes enable us to provide the best individual education to each student,” Shang said. “We have 462 students in the College of Professional Studies and 472 in traditional day schools in the College of Engineering. Over the years Tech has had a larger number of international students. Due to the pandemic, recruiting those students has become more challenging. Our present focus is recruiting in China, India and Turkey with recently signed articulation agreements and memorandum of understanding. The new building with its state-of-the-art equipment makes international recruiting easier.”

“The expansion and renovation of the Zollner Engineering Center is what made me decide to come here because there is so much potential for future growth at Indiana Tech,” Shang said. She came to the United States from China where she earned a bachelor’s degree in control science. She received master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. Before becoming dean at the University of Evansville, she was department chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering at Southern Illinois University.

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