Work is under way on a $9 million expansion/renovation project at McMahon Engineering Building on the Alfred University campus. Doreen Edwards, dean of the Inamori School of Engineering and professor of materials science, said the two-story addition will fill in the courtyard/parking lot in the rear of the building. In addition, several second- and third-floor laboratories in the existing building will be renovated, along with common spaces, including restrooms and hallways. The main southwest entrance of the building will also be modernized.
The new addition will house the school’s electron microscopy suite. “The addition has been designed with special vibration-damped rooms that will enable us to obtain high-resolution images required for nanoscale work,” said Edwards. It will also house surface-analysis equipment, including x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and some of the x-ray diffraction equipment.
Other renovated lab spaces will accommodate thermal analysis equipment and sample preparation areas. An atrium in the infill area will provide flexible space to meet the needs of faculty, students and researchers, according to Edwards, who anticipates it will typically be used as a casual gathering space for students to collaborate on coursework or for researchers to gather to discuss results. The space will be well-equipped for wireless Internet connections and house a few wired desktop computers. The space can be easily reconfigured to accommodate symposia, poster sessions or workshops.
The facility will serve as a hub for the Center for High-Temperature Characterization, a suite of specialized, and in some cases, custom-built, equipment that tests the properties of materials at high temperatures, said Edwards, who indicated that the school obtained $6.9 million in state funding to purchase high-temperature characterization and processing equipment for the Center. The initial $4 million was awarded through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) through the efforts of State Senator Catharine Young (R-Olean). The remaining $2.9 million was awarded by the Empire State Development Corporation on the recommendation of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.
“We are very grateful for state support for this important initiative,” said Edwards. “It demonstrates the state’s commitment to the materials-based industries in New York State. The list includes some of the largest manufacturers in the state, including Corning, Inc. and General Electric, but also some very promising start-up companies.
The building expansion/renovation is being funded by the State University of New York Construction Fund. The materials-based curricula–biomaterials engineering science, ceramic engineering, glass science engineering and materials science–are part of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, a statutory college created by an act of the State Legislature in 1900. Alfred University receives an allocation from the State Legislature to operate the College.