UND breaks ground on Collaborative Energy Complex, new front door to the College of Engineering & Mines

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UND breaks ground on Collaborative Energy Complex, new front door to the College of Engineering & Mines

The University of North Dakota broke ground today, Monday, July 20, on the Collaborative Energy Complex ? a new facility that will open doors for students and faculty, and which itself will become the new front door to UND's College of Engineering & Mines. The nearly 37,000-plus square-foot Collaborative Energy Complex (CEC) will be set on the southeast part of campus between Leonard Hall and Upson Hall I. The new CEC will connect the two existing facilities, forming a major engineering education and research complex on campus that will include Upson Hall I & II, Harrington Hall and the nearby Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library. "What a great day for the University and the College of Engineering & Mines. I commend Dean Hesham El-Rewini and his colleagues for their initiative and vision for the Collaborative Energy Complex, which should provide immediate opportunities for students and long-term solutions for the future of North Dakota and the nation," said UND President Robert Kelley. "This facility and the way it was funded ? almost entirely with donations and with important funding from the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund ? is an excellent example of a successful private-sector partnerships ? the kind that UND has fostered across our academic and research enterprises." El-Rewini stressed that the new facility ? as its name suggests ? will provide students and faculty with a place to interact with each other as well as with colleagues from other units on campus and beyond.

"More than just a building to house programs, CEC is about people, about collaboration, about innovation, and about building bridges with industry. It will provide students and faculty with a place to interact with each other as well as with colleagues from other colleges on campus and with industry," said El-Rewini. "CEC will provide our students and researchers with access to cutting edge laboratories and equipment. Students’ educational experience will be enriched through industry interactions, personalized mentorship, professional development opportunities, and outreach activities.”

"In 2013, Governor Dalrymple and I set out to jumpstart private donations to North Dakota colleges and universities by moving the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund initiative through the Legislature and with their help, we did just that," said North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley. "The Challenge Fund grant review committee awarded $29 million to our schools in the last biennium thanks to the generous donations made by individuals and businesses. Because of those donations and Challenge Fund dollars, North Dakota colleges and universities have been able to invest almost $90 million in their campuses and programs."

"Hess Corporation is proud to have committed $5 million over five years to support the UND Collaborative Energy Complex,” said Gerbert Schoonman, Vice President of the Hess’s Bakken operations in North Dakota. “This investment in higher education is part of our commitment to make a positive impact on the communities where we do business and develop a local workforce to support the growing energy sector in the state. We hope this new facility will play a key role in helping to build rewarding careers that in turn will further strengthen the state economy for years to come.”

Robert “Bob” Solberg, a 1969 UND Civil Engineering alumnus, was the first private major donor for the construction of the CEC. Solberg, now living in Houston, spent 45 years in the petroleum industry, 33 of those years were with Texaco. When he retired in 2002, he was serving as the company’s president of commercial development.

Solberg says that UND’s collaborative approach to engineering education is the right idea.

“I am very excited about this complex,” Solberg said. “I think it’s a wonderful and great idea. Universities and academia traditionally have not realized the potential of synchronizing all kinds of technological and engineering talents, but that’s exactly what this new building does. It’s all about sharing ideas and learning from each other.”

Steve L. Burian, a UND alum who is chief executive officer at AE2S (Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.), which is also a donor, added, "We are excited to be a part of this strategic project for UND's College of Engineering and Mines. A significant number of employees who have contributed to the success of AE2S are graduates of the UND engineering programs, and the College is critical to our future success. We are honored to play a role in helping cultivate the next generation of engineering talent."

Collaborative Energy Complex:

The Collaborative Energy Complex will serve as a new headquarters for all areas of energy-related programs within the College of Engineering & Mines, including the Institute for Energy Studies.

Currently, the College of Engineering and Mines is bursting at the seams with petroleum engineering students, fueled by booming oil and gas exploration in western North Dakota. The Petroleum Engineering program started with four students in 2010 and is expecting as many as 350 students to be enrolled this fall. The Institute for Energy studies was established in the summer of 2010 to foster interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach activities in the Energy field. It is a university-wide institute led and administered by the College of Engineering and Mines. CEC will provide the IES with the much needed space to accommodate their activities. The new building also will be the home of the Solberg Family Student Success Center, which will serve students from all disciplines in the College of Engineering & Mines through personalized advising and mentorship, outreach activities, professional development opportunities, internships and industry interactions.

In addition to providing state of the art labs and multipurpose teaching centers, the new facility will provide space for interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation among students, faculty and industry representatives.

Upon finalization of construction the Collaborative Energy Complex will feature:

  • Nearly 37,000 square feet of research/teaching labs and customized spaces for students, faculty, and industry
  • More than 7,500 square feet of new lab space for the College of Engineering and Mines
  • A 40-vertical-foot High Bay Lab equipped with a two ton bridge crane
  • Solberg Family Student Success Center for all Engineering and Geology Students, with mentoring, advising, internships, industry interaction, enrollment services, and more
  • Hess Innovation Lab for students to explore innovative ways to solve challenges facing our state, nation, and the world
  • Hess 3D Visualization and Reservoir Simulation Lab
  • Hess Drilling Simulation Lab
  • Solberg and Hamilton Atriums with displays designed to educate students and visitors
  • Student study space and gathering areas
  • Physical connection to the Harold Hamm School of Geology and Geological Engineering
  • Easy access to the Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library

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