Five new building features that have students talking

The new building will be home to faculty and students alike. The latter have mentioned five new features that they are especially excited to see. We spoke with Nikita Parikh, co-chair of ECESAC (ECE Student Advancement Committee); Tyler Hansen, freshman representative of ECESAC; Johnny Duan, sophomore representative of ECESAC; and Liana Nicklaus, president of HKN.

Energy-efficiency plan

One of the elements of the new building that students find most apparent and important is its energy-efficiency plan and net-zero goal. The students see these plans as representative of the accomplishments of the department.

“I think it’s absolutely fitting that the students and professors who have done significant work on energy-efficient electronics are able to see state-of-the-art technology in their field in action every day,” Duan said.

Several of the students highlighted the ethical necessity of pushing energy-efficiency, including Hansen.

“This building is a symbol for the university’s pursuit of a greener and more environmentally friendly atmosphere,” Hansen said. The students expressed their pride in their university for being at the cutting edge of energy-efficiency.

Proximity to ECE researchers

After learning that Champaign-Urbana MTD will help with transportation from across campus to the new building, the students expressed excitement for the new opportunities made possible by the ECE building’s location.

Duan noted that ECE’s new neighbors – the Beckman Institute, the Coordinated Science Laboratory, and the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory – are home to some of ECE’s critical research.

“I think the proximity to some of the world’s most prominent researchers is incredibly valuable,” Nicklaus said. “It will make it easier than ever for undergraduates to get involved in research, and form connections with professors and graduate students.”

Taken January 30th

A view of Beckman and CSL from a classroom on the third floor of the ECE building. Click the photo to see more from a recent building tour.

Student spaces

Currently, ECE student organizations have less-than-ideal spaces in Everitt Laboratory. Because of space restraints, they are scattered across the building in inconvenient and relatively small rooms. The new building will dedicate student organization spaces designed to improve student communication.

“Having a shared space next year will be a good change because it will let us interact more frequently and easily with members of other student groups,” Parikh said, as interaction is an important component to enhance the ECE student experience.

The student spaces will be located centrally in the building, adjacent to a café off the main lobby. In addition to this student organization space, students will have lounges and seating throughout the building where they can meet, relax, and study between classes.

Laboratory space

Laboratories provide students with essential opportunities for hands-on learning, and ECE understands the importance of those opportunities. The new building will house expanded and enhanced labs.

“I look forward to the increased lab space for projects and classes,” Hansen said. “Many of the lab facilities in Everitt Lab are cramped, and that makes it difficult to get enough lab time to complete projects efficiently.”

The labs in the new building will be conducive to student learning, and they will allow students to pursue both course-driven and independent projects. These labs include the ECE 110 Lab, the Nano Lab, Control Systems Lab, the Optics Advanced Systems Lab, the Srivastava Senior Design Lab, and the Open Projects Lab.

Auditoriums and spaces for ECE events

A vast improvement over the current auditorium in Everitt Laboratory, the auditorium in the new building will be larger and better structured – for example, it will be free of vision-obstructing pillars that can be found in the Everitt auditorium.

“The new auditorium will be large enough to comfortably host events,” Hansen said, from freshman welcome events to research presentations.

Additionally, other aspects of the building’s design – such as the grand entrance on its east side – will create further space for ECE to host events, Nicklaus said.

“One of the best aspects of ECE Illinois is the networking and professional opportunities brought to us by the department’s connections in the corporate world,” she said. “The new building will provide a great venue for alumni, recruiters, and students to interact.”