Lotus Pupulin uses a plasma torch to cut through an aluminum ribbon.Engineering student Lotus Pupulin uses a plasma torch to cut through an aluminum ribbon during ceremonies Friday to open the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Centre for Engineering Innovation shines at official grand opening

The University of Windsor has provided her family with opportunities for years, says Engineering Students Society president Lotus Pupulin.

Her grandfather Danilo helped to build Essex Hall as a construction foreman, and her father Dennis is a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering (B.A.Sc 1982). Lotus herself served as a student consultant during the design phase of the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation before cutting a ceremonial ribbon marking the building’s official opening Friday.

“I will be among the first to walk the halls of the CEI and I am beaming with pride and excitement,” the third-year student of civil engineering told officials representing every level of government, as well as industry leaders, educators and members of the general public during a reception to celebrate the opening of the $112 million facility.

The CEI opened to students in September 2012 and represents the largest capital investment in the University’s history. Construction of the building was supported by $40 million in funding from the government of Ontario, with matching funds from the federal government, as well as $5.3 million raised at a roast to pay tribute to the Honourable Ed Lumley, the University’s chancellor for whom the building is named. A $2.5-million gift from BMO Financial Group to fund the BMO Collaborative Learning Forum was the largest single gift made to the new facility. See related story: “Donation contributes to innovation of new engineering centre.”

“This is a major step for the University of Windsor and for the Windsor-Essex region,” said UWindsor president Alan Wildeman. “The Centre for Engineering Innovation provides our students with an extraordinary facility within which to learn and to see engineering in action. It provides laboratories and research facilities where emerging priorities such as environmental sustainability, alternative energy, nanostructure, lighter materials, and more efficient manufacturing systems can be addressed.”

Designed for the 21st Century—with more classrooms and meeting rooms, expanded laboratory facilities, and the latest technological tools—the CEI greatly enhances the student experience at UWindsor and has transformed the Faculty of Engineering. Its innovative Industrial Courtyard provides a fertile ground for joint industry/university research projects, creating a direct connection among education, research, and industrial innovation.

With more than 80 teaching and/or research laboratories, some of the new features have never been seen before in North America, including the iDesign studio and iFactory reconfigurable manufacturing lab, and the previously mentioned BMO Collaborative Learning Forum, a 350-seat auditorium which can be easily adapted to facilitate interaction and small-group learning.

As well, the building features eight classrooms, more than a dozen student meeting rooms, and more than 300 computer workstations—giving students the collaborative meeting and study spaces they need to prepare for the challenges of a career in Engineering.

The CEI is a “living building” that is wired for student learning—bringing engineering to life through real-time monitoring of the expansive green roof, cross-atrium bridges and HVAC performance. Following the reception, members of the public toured the 91,000 sq. metre building.

Floyd McCorkle, retired from a career in manufacturing, said he wishes it had been around when he was working.

“Our engineers would have loved the opportunity to come in here and collaborate with some of your researchers,” he said. “It’s an excellent facility—there isn’t anything here that you can’t say is just marvellous.”

Andy Jenner

Engineering technologist Andy Jenner explains a wind tunnel to a group touring the Centre for Engineering Innovation on Friday.

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