LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Engineering is one of the fastest-growing disciplines on the UNLV campus, and now the school has a brand new, state-of-the-art building to hold all the students it’s attracting.

But the facility does more than provide much-needed laboratory and classroom space, it also employs the same level of innovation it hopes to inspire.

“This, we’ve been waiting for it for ten years, and it’s happening, it’s today guys!”

A big day for the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering – Friday, after more than a decade of planning and construction – it opened its new advanced engineering building.

“It’s a lot, it’s really a lot to take in.”

This space will house research on everything from biomedical engineering to robotics to cybersecurity.

“This is the place where students are going to come up with the innovation ideas, design, build ‘em in the makers’ space, and second and third floor we’re going to do research into artificial intelligence and cyber security, robotics. The third floor is all for biomedical, water resources, anything where you need to use a chemistry type of lab.”

Dr. Rama Venkat is the college’s dean. Venkat tells FOX5 that the new A.E.B. is perfectly situated for its purpose.

“This building is set in what we call the “Innovation Corridor,” so if you look at this corridor we have science, engineering, health sciences, all those people who come up with patents, right…and ideas…they’re all in this area,” says Dr. Venkat. “Artificial intelligence, cyber security, robotics are all a big deal these days, right? So this building will produce new ideas. People will come up with ideas where you can take it to the market.”

Still, it takes big ideas to inspire big ideas – and this building holds more than a few surprises.

“The Flexatorium is a unique space, and you don’t see it in many places. It’s a flexible auditorium. It’s actually a multi-purpose space,” says Venkat. “You can teach a 120-student class in that space, and you press a button, the seats go back and compress, it becomes an even space.”

And engineering students tell us, they’re excited about the space.

“It’s just an amazing opportunity as an undergraduate to be a part of this, a space that really encourages us to explore the unknown and be a part of this,” says computer science student Garrett Prentice.

The building also boasts a drone aviary to support research and study in autonomous aerial systems, and it has a track for testing autonomous race cars.


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