Renovations to Wilson Hall Begin, Engineering Faculty Search Continues

December 18, 2009

Renovations to Wilson Hall, which will serve as the facility for Mount Union’s new engineering programs, have recently begun. The search for a director of the programs is underway and the search committees are currently interviewing a number of candidates.

“We’ve interviewed excellent candidates,” said Dr. James Thoma, associate dean of the College and professor of human performance and sport business who serves as chair of the engineering search committees. “It’s just the matter of finding the right leadership and experience.”

The two bachelor of science degree programs in mechanical engineering and civil engineering will begin in the fall of 2010 and a tentative curriculum has been assembled. Typically, students pursuing an engineering degree take general preparation classes such as calculus, physics and chemistry, providing a solid foundation upon which to build.

According to Thoma, there has been a vast amount of interest from prospective high school students and from Mount Union students as well.

These programs will place Mount Union among the few private colleges and universities in Ohio that offer these essential degrees in four years.  According to Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, in the past, engineering graduates have come primarily from state institutions but Mount Union’s smaller size and strong reputation in math and science as well as its broad-based offerings will be an advantage for its graduates.

Wilson Hall, which was built in 1958, previously housed the departments of Chemistry and Physics prior to the construction of Bracy Hall in 2003.

“Construction and renovations began merely 10 days ago,” said Blaine Lewis, director of Physical Plant. “In the meantime, contractors will be working on the floors, ceilings, walls and the electrical and mechanical systems. Once the weather breaks, they’ll begin external construction.”

Lewis explained that the Wilson renovation will be a 9-month project and the construction deadline has been set for August 1, 2010. As a part of Mount Union’s sustainability initiative, contractors are renovating under LEED-certified standards. “We’re still uncertain about whether or not we will seek certification,” he said. “But we are consciously incorporating sustainable elements.”

Over the next few months, Wilson Hall will receive a major facelift both interior and exterior.  When completed, the building will include 5 labs, a computer lab, two lecture halls, a conference room, student lounge, study areas and 21 offices. The building will house the Department of Engineering and its faculty and the Department of Economics, Accounting and Business Administration will relocate to Wilson as well.


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