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Groundbreaking for New Engineering Building Will Kick Off College’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations

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A groundbreaking event on Oct. 5 for the new Systems Research and Academics Building of Old Dominion University's Batten College of Engineering and Technology will kick off a year's worth of celebrations as the college commemorates 50 years of existence.

Construction will begin soon on the 50,500-square-foot facility, which will be located between Kaufman Hall and Perry Library, with move-in scheduled in spring 2014. When completed, it will feature a clean room, a lasers lab, two biomedical dry labs and a wet lab, a plasma science lab, a maglev controls lab and space missions lab, a micro fluidics lab, and a dynamic environment simulation lab, as well as four large student projects studios and additional student collaboration spaces.

Building-wide, there will be a "learn by discovery" theme for the labs, adding to the collaborative nature of work done at the college, encouraging students to work across disciplines on projects.

The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, following the fall meeting of the Batten College Advisory Board. ODU President John R. Broderick and Batten College Dean Oktay Baysal, as well as government representatives and faculty and students from the college, will make remarks. Building plans will be available for review, and tours will be given of the current engineering building, Kaufman Hall, and its labs.

Baysal said the groundbreaking event is important to publicly kick off the construction project, and the college's 50th anniversary year.

"We have a proud history in the Batten College, from our beginnings in 1962," he said. "It's important on this, our 50th year, to reach out to current and former faculty, staff and students of the Batten College, as well as the community at large. The growth and reach of our college has been impressive, and our future looks very bright."

On Saturday, Oct. 13, the Batten College will host a tailgate in conjunction with ODU Homecoming, an event that includes a party on Kaufman Mall and the football game itself, against Villanova.

Throughout the school year, speakers will address the Batten College faculty and students, reflecting the diverse and real-world expertise that has been a hallmark of engineering education at ODU since the school was founded.

During Engineers' Week in February, the Engineering Open House and Women in Engineering Day events will spotlight the history of the college in terms of innovation, community engagement and national recognition.

And the Batten College's Annual Celebration in April will feature a tribute to the college's first 50 years, including the unveiling of a commemorative book about the college. For information about the book, or to offer personal insight into the past 50 years of the Batten College of Engineering and Technology, contact Brendan O'Hallarn at bohallar@odu.edu.