Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
October 22, 1999

Engineering's "flagship," Howe Hall, opens Saturday

by Skip Derra
Iowa State officials will dedicate Howe Hall, the first phase of the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex (ETRC), at 10 a.m., Saturday Oct. 23, in the building's atrium.

"Howe Hall is the flagship effort by our College of Engineering to move engineering education into the next century," said President Martin Jischke. "In the classrooms and labs of Howe Hall, engineering practice will be combined with engineering education and outreach, providing our students with an educational experience that will prepare them to 'hit the floor running' when they graduate. They will be able to step into challenging positions and perform immediately."

Stanley and Helen Howe Hall is named after the Muscatine couple who donated $6 million to the ETRC. Stanley Howe is chairman emeritus and a member of the board of directors at HON Industries, a manufacturer of office furniture and prefabricated fireplace units. The Howes' gift is supplemented with an additional $1 million in furniture from the company.

"The goal has always been to create a more practice-oriented and collaborative approach to engineering education. We feel we have done that in Howe Hall," said Engineering Dean Jim Melsa. "We have the high-tech space needed to provide not only a high-quality educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students, but also for engineers throughout their careers. This is a facility dedicated to the idea that engineering is a profession based on a lifetime of learning."

Howe Hall will be home to the aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics department, Virtual Reality Applications Center, engineering distance education and Center for Industrial Research and Service.

It also will house C6, a next-generation virtual reality room; environmental and aerodynamic wind tunnels; a 275-seat auditorium; four high-tech classrooms and two high-tech lecture halls; and teaching and research labs for mechanical vibrations, acoustics, stress analysis, composite materials, aerospace structures, strength of materials and fluid mechanics.

The goal of ETRC and the college's re-engineering engineering education initiative is to help students learn concepts through direct involvement with applications, Melsa said.

Students will take part in industrially relevant projects in which they will apply engineering expertise, learn how to work in teams and develop leadership skills. The end result, Melsa said, will be students who have learned, rather than been taught, engineering. Experience will be the key to students' educations, he added.

More than 300 faculty, staff and students will have offices in Howe Hall and it will be used by more than 2,000 students each week when it is fully opened.

The ETRC will consist of two buildings joined by a skywalk over Bissel Road: Howe Hall and another building with the proposed name of Gary and Donna Hoover Hall. Work on the second building begins in January. It will include a 400-seat auditorium, additional laboratories and classrooms, and student computer labs.

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