The University of Kansas has completed the second phase of a major expansion of its engineering facilities to accommodate a 50 percent increase in the number of engineering graduates. The Learned Hall Engineering Expansion Phase 2 (LEEP 2) completes the new engineering complex by connecting two existing buildings: Learned Hall, built in 1963, and the Measurement, Materials and Sustainable Environment Center (M2SEC), completed in 2012. A portion of the Spahr Library was renovated with this project to provide more collaboration and social learning spaces for students by removing stacks and opening the area to the new LEEP 2 building. The curved glass façade of the LEEP 2 main atrium creates a new grand entrance to the engineering complex.
This project adds 144,855 gsf of instructional spaces, academic program support and tutoring areas, student fabrication, student project spaces, project development, and core and research laboratories on the main campus. The new instructional spaces support novel teaching and active learning methods, and accommodate the inevitable changes in pedagogies and learning styles. The collaborative laboratories and academic support spaces are designed to create a bridge between instruction, research, peer support, and overall student development.
The student project fabrication spaces have flexible infrastructure systems to allow design and fabrication of multiple types of projects. The project development/research laboratories include core laboratory spaces designed to provide analytical services for both School of Engineering research programs as well as research efforts across the KU campus.
The new facility includes 26,036-gsf research laboratories and core facilities for:
- Analytical Chemistry (core laboratory)
- Thermofluids, with a water tunnel, environmental rooms, and laser doppler velocimeter (core laboratory)
- Imaging (core laboratory)
- Chemical Engineering
- Experimental Aerodynamics
- Energy & Power Engineering
- Transportation Laboratory
- Unassigned open faculty research space
Instructional laboratories (11,511 gsf) serve a wide range of disciplines:
- Unit operations, with high bay space (24 students)
- Mechanics of materials (20 students)
- Instrumentation, with waveform generator, tilt table, CompactRIO data acquisition units (24 students)
- Building thermal science (24 students)
- Environmental engineering (24 students)
- Power, controls & communication (24 students)
- Illumination, with a moveable ceiling to switch out fixtures (10 students)
- Aerospace engineering senior design Lab (40 students)
Active learning environments promote student interaction and communication skills, and enable innovative and varied learning and teaching styles in a variety of classroom settings:
- One 160-seat room
- One 120-seat room
- One 90-seat room
- Three 60-seat rooms
LEEP 2 is also home to the School of Engineering Career Center and the Student Success Suite, which includes offices for recruitment and retention, undergraduate and graduate academic services, minority and women’s programs and the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program.
The University’s goal is to build on the success of the past few years—a 38 percent increase in undergraduate graduates and a 42 percent increase in doctoral student graduates since 2008, and the addition of nine faculty since 2012. They are targeting the addition of 30 new faculty by 2018, and a 60 percent increase in undergraduate and doctoral graduates by 2021.