From Texas Tech University:
Texas Tech University officials today (Oct. 5) broke ground on a new facility to house the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering, welcoming a new era in petroleum engineering production and operations education.
The $20 million project will house 40,000 square feet of formal teaching environments with hands-on applications and modern research facilities. Funding was provided entirely through generous donor support during the Texas Tech University System's $1 billion campaign, Vision and Tradition: The Campaign for Texas Tech.
"We are excited about the opportunities the new petroleum engineering building will offer," said Kent Hance, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. "The building will allow not only for increased enrollment, but improved teaching and research endeavors. I am confident this facility will set the bar for petroleum education facilities nationwide."
The new building will sit in the northeast corner of the engineering key and feature the characteristic arches that surround the current engineering buildings. Upon completion, the building will be one of two stand-alone petroleum engineering departments in the country.
"The existing building cannot properly accommodate modern technologies and production techniques," said Al Sacco, dean of the Whitacre College of Engineering. "The new facility will be critical for Texas Tech to attain its goals of advancing the petroleum engineering department and graduating the finest industry-ready petroleum engineers."
Through the integration of several laboratories, the new facility will allow for education that covers the entire spectrum of exploration and production, including business profitability analysis. The labs will offer students both a theoretical and practical education that compliments classroom material through hands-on applications.
Each of the labs will be associated with the overall petroleum engineering curriculum and will seamlessly integrate with students' experiences in other disciplines such as geosciences and environmental engineering. The building will feature the following laboratory, teaching and research areas:
The new building also will feature smart classrooms, student study areas and increased space for anticipated department growth.
Nationally, there are only 15 petroleum engineering programs, and Texas Tech's program is one of the top five largest, currently averaging around 500 students per semester. The new facility will be able to accommodate 600 undergraduate students.
"Even with recently increased admission standards, the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering is currently one of the largest programs in the country," Sacco said. "The new building will allow for further growth in enrollment, representing Texas Tech's commitment to drive this program to the top of petroleum engineering departments in the country."
Construction is expected to be completed in time to offer courses and instruction in fall 2013.