Construction complete at newly renamed Engineering Building

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Jacaranda Hall, formerly the Engineering Building, opened for the fall semester with a brand new look following the completion of a $12 million renovation project.

All labs, classrooms, and faculty offices on the first and second floor of the east side of the building have been upgraded with new equipment and furniture.

“The biggest change is (that) they have more (smart) classrooms,” said J. Michael Kabo, associate dean of College of Engineering and Computer Science. “They (will) eventually have LCD projectors, white boards, screens, (and) video equipments.”

The departments figured out the needs of the computer labs to produce necessary course work, and then the university cleaned out all the equipment and renovated the space.

“We needed additional electrical power in the building,” Kabo said. “They upgraded all the heating and ventilation, equipment, (and) the mechanical system. Now it should be a fully functional and workable building.”

The estimated cost for construction on the 14,000-square-foot building is $12 million, with funding coming from a state bond measure.

“If the funds are available, everybody agreed that this was going to be the scope of (the) work,” said Dave Chakraborty, manager of construction services for Facilities Planning.

Chakraborty said the labs were at least 10 to 15 years old, and that the university wanted to bring the departments into the 21st century.

The university installed new, fully operating Internet connections in every classroom. Now students can use their laptops in the labs, Chakraborty said.

“Teachers could use monitor media and equipments for teaching,” he said.

Prior to renovation, the inside of the building was completely white, including hallways.

“It was just sterile. It seemed too sterile,” Kabo said.

“The colors direct you (to) doorways,” said Maureen Shideh, manager of space planning for Facilities Planning. “You can find your lab, classroom (or) your faculty office a lot easier.”

Another significant change to Jacaranda Hall’s second floor is the introduction of a new nursing lab, which is utilized by the Health Sciences in the College of Health and Human Development.

“(They) totally renovated (the area) to jive with nursing students, and (the) state-of-the-art methods of teaching,” Shideh said.

The Health Sciences Department offices were on the second floor in the old Engineering Building, but they moved their offices into a temporary trailer west of Etiwanda Avenue during spring break while construction occurred.

Faculty and equipment moved back into the building after the fire marshal gave them permission around 10 days prior to the start of the semester.

The rooms of the east side of the building have also been renumbered, which caused some staff members to become curious about the new numbering system.

“I wonder who numbered the building,” said Betsy Jones, office manager for the Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics Department.

Jody Tadros, engineering major, and Deazell Johnson, sophomore cinema and television major, who both work at student service center on the first floor of Jacaranda Hall, said the building improved significantly with the new colors and interiors now in place.

“All the names changed, (so) you might as well change the building,” Johnson said.

Aya Oikawa can be reached at city@sundial.csun.edu.