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Funds approved for engineering school

Nov. 17, 1999

Regents OK campaign

to fund addition to building

By TRES GARZA

Reporter

On Friday, the Baylor University Board of Regents authorized a $5-million capital campaign to fund an addition to the Robert M. and Louise Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building, which was constructed in 1988.

The 35,000-square-foot addition to the facility will allow the School of Engineering and Computer Science to accommodate its rapidly increasing enrollment.

Dr. Ben Kelley, dean of engineering and computer science, said the addition has long been anticipated.

'We have been looking forward to this new addition for a long time,' Kelley said. 'With the number of students enrolled in the program growing, we really need this new expansion.'

There are currently 700 students who use the facility, a dramatic increase from nearly 250 who first entered the program when the building was first constructed.

'We are out of space, and enrollment is going to continue to grow,' Kelley said.

The campaign will add much-needed classrooms, offices and labs.

The plans for the addition include making the L-shaped building into a complete square with a courtyard in the center.

The regents have allowed for the fundraising to begin, but no money has come in yet.

'We are currently looking for donors to help get us started,' Kelley said. 'We feel that people will want to give back to Baylor by doing something good.'

The Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building also houses Baylor's Information Technology Center, which provides computer and networking services for the entire university.

According to Dr. Don Hardcastle, director of the Information Technology Center, the expansion will also benefit his department.

'The information technology center is housed on the third floor of the Rogers Building,' Hardcastle said. 'Once the facility is complete, we will take over the third floor of the new addition.'

The third floor was originally built to house 65 staff members. There were 56 members at the time, allowing for ample space on the floor. Now there are 96 members, and space is limited.

'We have had to double up in offices and some of the staff are housed on other places around campus. There is not much

room at all,' Hardcastle said.

The addition will create more room for personnel, relieving some of the congestion.

'The reason we have so many staff now is because of the growth of the number of microcomputers used on and around campus today,' Hardcastle said. 'In 1988 there were 1,000 computers, and now there are 4,500. They are located in student labs, offices and dorm rooms.'

Also, the new addition will help with the capabilities of the computer servers on campus.

Currently, there are 50 servers, compared to the two that the university started with. The servers provide service for the university and also are the foundation of the Internet, e-mail and lab servers.

There will also be an enlargement of training rooms for faculty and staff to help them become more familiar with the computers and their services.

Planning for the new expansion has been going on since 1995. Kelley said that the facility will break ground sometime during the summer of 2001.