UALR builds for future | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 11, 2008

UALR builds for future

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2008 at 3:46 PM

UALR, with the governor and others on hand, began construction today of a $30 million building for its Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, a department aimed at connecting higher education with economic development, specifically high-tech jobs. Release on jump.


Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson Monday unveiled a new $30 million building project for UALR’s Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT), a program that connects higher education to economic development. Student enrollment in program has more than doubled in the last several years.

U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder, EIT Dean Mary L. Good, and UA System President B. Alan Sugg joined Beebe and Anderson to announce the building project to state and community leaders and UALR faculty, alumni, and students – dubbing Monday as Connection Day at UALR. The celebration highlighted the connection between higher education and economic development with a non-traditional ground-breaking ceremony.

 “Today’s Connection Day celebration at UALR is an exciting way to remind all of us about the connection between higher education and economic development,” Beebe said.  “UALR’s new EIT building will be a tremendous catalyst for economic growth, providing more high-tech professionals and applied research to build the economy of our state.”

Foregoing a traditional ground breaking, an industrial construction lift instead raised construction workers aloft outside of EIT’s current overcrowded building to start breaking through for a skywalk connection to the new structure – a 120,000-square-feet expansion for UALR’s EIT, the most “technologized” building on UALR’s campus.      

Monday’s ceremony comes nine years after the Arkansas General Assembly authorized creation of a college at UALR dedicated to economic development in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.  The college, once nicknamed CyberCollege and now known as EIT, has experienced rapid growth – more than doubling its student enrollment of declared majors and garnering more than $33 million in research funding to date.

“UALR's Engineering and Information Technology program has delivered on our promise to strengthen economic development efforts in Arkansas with more than 800 graduates and a faculty dedicated to solving highly technical problems to keep Arkansas corporations globally competitive,” Anderson said. “EIT’s rapid growth has brought us to today’s ceremony, marking the beginning of the most ‘technologized’ classroom and research building in UALR’s history.”

Good, founding dean of UALR’s EIT, was applauded for her leadership role in the college’s rapid success and expansion. She is directly involved in the ongoing funding campaign needed to underwrite the EIT building expansion project. The building project incorporates a combination of both private and public funding.

“Governor Beebe’s $4 million commitment from state funds was the catalyst we needed to begin construction immediately,” Good said. “He understands the impact this new teaching and research facility at UALR can have on the Arkansas economy for decades to come.”

Good also added that UALR’s EIT was fulfilling its dual mission to provide a world-class technical education for Arkansas students and make a major contribution to economic development for the state.

Cromwell Architects Engineers firm designed the new building, and Nabholz Construction will serve as the general contractor for the project.

The new six-story EIT building will be located in an existing parking lot. Construction of replacement parking spaces will be the first phase of the project, which will begin in the next few weeks.


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