The Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin has launched a $310 million project to build the Engineering Education and Research Center , which will include 23,000 square feet of space for engineering students to create and develop hands-on projects.
The total size of the center will be 430,000 square feet, including classroom and office space.
Dr. James Truchard, co-founder and CEO of National Instruments, has donated $10 million for the National Instruments Student Project Center. Dr. Truchard has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, all from UT Austin.
The Cockrell School of Engineering is outgrowing its present space and needs the addition in order to match recent growth at MIT, Georgia Tech, UC Berkeley, and Texas A&M.
The Cockrell School says that for Truchard, “the a gift to the EERC is about more than giving back to the university. It’s an investment in National Instrument’s future workforce. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, National Instruments includes more than 6,000 employees working in 40 countries.
“We hire from many different areas, electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering and increasingly biomedical engineering. Our professionals need to be flexible, creative and innovative and know how to stay above the curve. Their education is a critical component to their future success,” Truchard said.
“Bringing to life math and physics to students in a way that it inspires innovative thinking and allowing them to succeed and fail with hands-on projects are just a few of the many benefits Truchard and others look forward to with the building of the EERC,” according to the Cockrell School.
At least one-third of the total cost of the 430,000 square foot facility will come in the form of private donations, with the UT System, the university, and the state of Texas providing the rest. So far, the Board of Regents has designated $105 million for the project from the state’s permanent university fund.
“Depending on fundraising progress, the construction could begin in 2013, and faculty and students could move into the EERC by 2017,” the School says. “The return on…investment will be substantial since a typical graduating class from the Cockrell School generates
$2.5 billion in annual spending, $1.1 billion in gross product, and 10,240 jobs in the U.S. according to an economic study by the Perryman Group.”