From launching a new website, to changing the location of a school on campus, Fairfield is making moves to benefit students and staff, but also appeal to prospective students.

This will be the School of Engineering’s first full semester in the Bannow Science Center since it moved from McAuliffe Hall in the fall.

Computer and Electrical Engineering laboratories were set up, and a new Mechanical Engineering lab was just completed in December.

All engineering professor offices are now located in Bannow on the south side of the building.

The School of Engineering has about 200 undergraduate students and 180 graduate students between the Software Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering schools.

The new Administrative Dean of the School of Engineering, Dr. Bruce Berdanier, is confident about the decision in moving the program to its new location. He believes that having the School of Engineering in a more central location is vital to the program.

Berdanier says this transition creates a sense of unity between all the sciences and math departments. Resources such as special laboratories for experiments and equipment are now easily accessible between departments.

“Undergraduate level engineering is very hands-on in the laboratories depending on what kind of engineering they are studying, they are learning to apply science and mathematics,” said Berdanier.

“Undergraduate engineering students are also very hands-on with equipments, machines and computers and they really need good laboratory space. McAuliffe Hall is a beautiful building, it has very big offices and classrooms but they were never really set up to be laboratories,” Berdanier said.

The Bannow Science Center has the appropriate laboratory facilities and the space for students. One of the important factors in transitioning from McAuliffe Hall was because the laboratory space for the students could not be used effectively.  During open house events it was difficult to share the laboratories with prospective students and get them excited about the space they would be studying, learning and working in.

Senior Nicole D’Addio has helped with School of Engineering open houses in the past. She recalls that informational sessions would have to be held in the Kelley Center for larger groups due to the insufficient space in McAuliffe.

“Now that it’s in Bannow, we’re sharing a building with more appropriate classrooms and offices,” D’Addio said.

Berdanier has received positive feedback on the new facilities. He added that a big part of the transition was working with computer networks to create new software for the school.

“It was like an invisible change, people only saw the laboratories being built,” said Berdanier. The School of Engineering’s network used to be separate, but the upgrade has brought it together with the rest of the school. This change has made a lot of the software and programs used for courses more cost effective for the students.

Berdanier hopes that the undergraduate population in the engineering school will grow 5 to 10 percent in the upcoming Fall semester. The graduate school has already admitted 50 new students for this Spring.

D’Addio is already pleased with the change. “I appreciate not having to walk to McAuliffe anymore,” she said.

The next big event for the school is their open house on Feb. 6.

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