Monday, March 28, 2016

Garver Gifts $250,000 for U of A Engineering Facility

Garver recently gifted $250,000 toward the construction of a new civil engineering facility at the University of Arkansas.

The Civil Engineering Research and Education Center, or CEREC, will be a 25,000-square-foot facility housing structural engineering research and teaching facilities located at the Engineering Research Center in the Arkansas Technology Park. The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has approved the issuance of up to $5 million in bonds to match private donations for the project, effectively valuing Garver’s gift at $500,000. The College of Engineering has a goal of raising a total of $5 million in private funds to complete the project.

Kevin Hall, civil engineering department head, explained that the new facility will be a resource for both students and the community.

“We’ve estimated that over the next 25 years, CEREC will serve over 9,000 undergraduate students and 1,750 graduate students,” said Hall. “In addition to that, we expect this facility to generate over $18 million of infrastructure-related research over the next 25 years, providing solutions for local, state and national infrastructure problems.”

Hall describes CEREC as the ultimate “living laboratory” for civil engineering undergraduate students. This aspect of the project will begin even before the building is finished, because civil engineering students will study and participate in the CEREC design and construction process. Once the facilities are complete, CEREC will provide vital opportunities for hands-on experience through laboratory exercises and research activities.

CEREC will also provide Arkansas-based industry, agency and higher-education institutions with a structural engineering laboratory needed to provide research-based solutions for infrastructure needs, as well as the educated workforce to implement those solutions. “Arkansas currently lacks a full-scale, comprehensive structural engineering laboratory,” said Hall. “CEREC will function as a truly statewide resource.”

“We are so excited to partner with Garver in kicking off this important project,” said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. “The creation of safe and robust buildings and structures benefits everyone, and we expect CEREC to open up new opportunities in structural engineering across the state, and to raise the bar when it comes to finding infrastructure solutions. This gift is a big step toward our fundraising goals for this project.”

“For nearly a century, Garver has relied on the skills, character and drive of its staff,” said Dan Williams, president and chief executive officer of Garver. “To invest in an institution like the University of Arkansas College of Engineering is to invest in the quality of our future staff and ultimately, the quality of our nation’s infrastructure.”

“This Civil Engineering Research and Education Center will provide students with the hands-on experience they’ll need in order to better understand the fundamentals of structural engineering,” said Bert Parker, Garver chief administrative officer.


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