UofL announces new hub for next-generation engineering education, research

Feb. 26, 2024

By Baylee Pulliam

The University of Louisville has announced a new building that will serve as a hub for next-generation engineering education, research and student life, all aimed at driving the growth of Kentucky’s technology-enabled economy.

The four-story, 114,000-square-foot building, sitting just behind the J.B. Speed School of Engineering complex on Eastern Parkway, will include classrooms, a makerspace, high-tech lab facilities and room for events and student engagement. The $90 million project is supported by $65 million in state funding and $3 million in private donations, with a fundraising campaign on-going to secure the balance.

“UofL has long led the charge in driving innovation, economic growth and providing students with the education and experience they need to succeed in the real world,” said President Kim Schatzel. “With this new state-of-the-art building, we accelerate those efforts, creating bold new opportunities for our students, researchers and the Commonwealth.”

The additional space will support UofL efforts to fill Kentucky’s talent pipeline with STEM graduates who are prepared to harness disruptive technologies across a range of industries, including cybersecurity, electric vehicles, renewable energy, advanced manufacturing and many more. While the Kentucky’s production of these critical workers has grown, it still lags behind neighboring states and the national average.

“Extending Kentucky’s record-breaking economic momentum depends on our ability to innovate and strengthen our workforce,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “This new investment and partnership with UofL shows our commitment to being a destination for talented people and businesses looking to succeed in the key industries of the future.”

The building will also house a number of cutting-edge research labs aimed at providing hands-on learning opportunities, developing new technologies and collaborating with industry. That includes UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, whose work drives discovery, advancements and new products in solar, biofuels and energy storage, efficiency and materials.

“Conn Center forges partnerships and inspires many students to address global energy challenges,” said center Director Mahendra Sunkara. “With this new space, we can accelerate the technology necessary to make Louisville a global leader in energy research, one that positively impacts the regional economy.”

Louisville is a hub for engineering and manufacturing, being home to some 2,400 manufacturing firms with a total workforce of more than 82,500. With this new building, UofL can help maintain that positive momentum by spurring new breakthroughs and generating talent ready to solve problems and lead.

“Louisville is poised for enormous growth, and UofL research and graduates are a key part of our ongoing and future success,” said Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg. “I’m proud to support this investment in UofL, Louisville’s top-tier research university, that will create new opportunities for people and businesses throughout our city.”

Construction is already underway and is expected to be complete in summer 2025, just in time for the Speed School’s centennial celebration. Founded in 1925, the school has since grown enrollment to more than 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees across eight engineering disciplines.

“The Speed School has a well-earned century-long reputation as a place for ideas that will transform and reimagine our world,” said Dean Emmanuel Collins. “This new building will be a game changer for student success, our cutting-edge research and more. We’re both dreamers and doers, and this new facility is a place for both.”

The facility was designed by Luckett & Farley in collaboration with SmithGroup and Whittenberg Construction is the general contractor. Learn more how you can support this project here.