Sidney Lu MEB Project: To Infinity and Beyond!
If you have walked, run, biked, scootered, or driven by the Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building recently at the corner of Goodwin and Green in Urbana, you are a witness to the amazing transformation happening!
My name is Damon, and I am the Director of Facilities and Operations for the Mechanical Science and Engineering department and a 2005 alumnus. This is my first blog ever! I hope it is interesting, fun, and inspiring.
Where do I start? As a mechanical engineer who went into HVAC design, I spent every day designing energy-efficient mechanical and control systems. As complex and rewarding as that work is, it is just one aspect of a project, like one of the 12 numbers on the face of a watch. The design of a building embraces dozens of fields of science and wonder. The vision brings together skilled experts in architecture, interiors design, furniture design, art design, landscape design, structural engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, audio/visual engineering, environmental engineering, university personnel, and the future occupants of the building. I probably missed a few! The team is so complex, and the services they are each performing are so complex, that Dr. Amy Edmondson at Harvard Business School published the book, “Extreme Teaming” to help understand the dynamics of a “people system.” When the design is “finished” (for it is never really done), the entire dream is handed to a completely new set of complex teams: one construction manager, dozens of contractors, and hundreds of vendors of all sorts who bring together the coordinated resources to actually build the design.
I deeply appreciate our alumni donors and those donors who believe in our vision. This $41M project received $0 from the state of Illinois. Donors will have contributed 64% of the project funds! We also appreciate the contributions of The Grainger College of Engineering (4%), the Office of the Provost (6%), and Campus Facilities and Services (26%). Thank you very much to all of our past, present, and future donors who help further MechSE’s vision for the future.
As time permits, in this blog space, I will share interesting aspects of the project. We are doing amazing things. Let me know if you wish to hear about something specific and I will seek to include in future blogs. Until then, enjoy the live camera feeds!
Go Illini! Go MechSE!