Massive effort goes into planning CEI move for faculty, staff and students

The distance from the south end of Essex Hall to the new Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation is a mere two blocks. You can walk it in less than five minutes.

Try moving 80 faculty and staff members, 247 graduate students, 76 post-doctoral fellows and research associates and about $40 million worth of laboratory equipment over the same distance.

“It’s taken us two years just to put the plan together,” says Andy Jenner, a technologist in the Faculty of Engineering who, along with space management manager Neil Musson and several other technologists, formed the committee overseeing the faculty’s move from Essex Hall to the brand new, $112 million CEI. Jenner said the move began August 5 and will continue into the second week of October.

“It’s been a total team effort,” he said. Each faculty member is responsible for packing up their labs and offices and ensuring all their belongings are ready to go when the movers arrive. CMF Group of Windsor is moving all of the heavy equipment – basically anything over 500 pounds that may require a forklift, Jenner said – while Mayhew and Associates is responsible for everything else, including supplying all the new furniture for the building.

On Tuesday afternoon, PhD students Fatih Sen and Sanam Atashin and post-doctoral fellow Sukanta Bhowmick were busy packing up equipment in the Essex Hall third-floor offices and labs of their academic supervisor Ahmet Alpas, a professor in Mechanical, Automotive and Materials engineering.

“We’re very excited about going to the new building,” said Sen. “We’ve already had a couple of tours and it looks very nice. The labs are much larger, and with more space, we’ll be able to use our equipment much more efficiently.”

Between his two labs, currently located on the third floor and in the basement of Essex Hall, Dr. Alpas estimates he has about $3 million worth of lab equipment to be moved to the new building. He said it will be far more convenient to have all of his lab space together in a central location, rather than being spread out over three floors.

“It will all be nicely integrated, state-of-the-art infrastructure,” said Alpas, whose new lab will be located in an area behind the bio-wall in the CEI. “We’re all very excited. It’s going to be very nice to be in the new building.”

While the University will take occupancy of the CEI on August 24, some construction will continue after that date, says Jennifer Di Domenico, a project manager with JPT Management, the firm overseeing the construction. Most classrooms and undergraduate labs will open on September 17, however exceptions include the 350-seat learning forum and the third-floor graduate lab, which are slated for completion later in the semester.

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