Penn State celebrates new Engineering Design and Innovation Building

March 27, 2023

By Tim Schley

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With the snip of nine pairs of scissors, the Penn State College of Engineering celebrated the construction of the new Engineering Design and Innovation Building at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Feb. 24 on the University Park campus. 

The 105,000-gross-square-foot building, part of the college’s master facilities plan, will be the new home for the School of Engineering Design and Innovation (SEDI), the expanded Learning Factory and the Factory for Advanced Manufacturing Education Lab. Additionally, the building includes multi-use design studios, active-learning classrooms, and other collaborative areas for students to interact with and learn from faculty and industry partners. The Penn State Board of Trustees-approved project was supported predominantly by funding from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and philanthropy. The building is slated to open this fall.  

Cutting the ribbon of the new Penn State Engineering Design and Innovation Building from Penn State Engineering on Vimeo.

“The Engineering Design and Innovation Building has been called a ‘hub of making,’” said Anthony Atchley, acting dean of the College of Engineering. “The classrooms, labs and a state-of-the art maker space coalesce to create a facility where students can take their ‘what ifs’ and ‘I wonders’ and turn them into viable answers to pressing societal needs.”

In the past few years, ideas from Penn State engineering students grew from “what if” to the world’s first yarn made from squid protein, which could help reduce plastic pollution from textile production, as well as the first computational model of the inner ear’s Bast valve, which led to the discovery of a previously unknown contributor to Meniere’s disease.

“The essence of innovation spurring such projects — and the curricula that enable them — is the backbone of the College of Engineering,” said Justin Schwartz, interim Penn State executive vice president and provost and the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean in the College of Engineering. “Engineers look at impossibly large problems and say, ‘I have an idea,’ and then we work together, testing that idea, reimagining it, prototyping it, until we produce a solution.

“Here in the Engineering Design and Innovation Building, we stand on the precipice of potential, in a place of possibility,” he added.

The new building demonstrates Penn State’s continued commitment to the success of its students and will help accommodate the unprecedented growth the college has experienced over the past 15 years, according to Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi.

“Current and future students who study and use the Engineering Design and Innovation Building will continue to be among the most sought-after talent among employers,” Bendapudi said. “I look forward to the breakthroughs and achievements that this and future generations will create here.”  

The event was funded by the following sponsors: Gary and Susan Butler and Precision Custom Components; Lamar Johnson Collaborative and Clayco; Payette; Jane Hrehocik Clampitt and Henry R. Clampitt; Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo; Amy Ericson; Dale Hoffman; Turner Construction; Jane and Tom Sambolt and the George Bennett Werk Foundation; and Cherish Samuels.  


Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email


College of Engineering Media Relations

student high-fives mascot holding large scissors in other hand

Student representative Kannais Sims, third-year undergraduate studying architectural engineering, high-fives the Nittany Lion mascot after cutting the ribbon for the new Engineering Design and Innovation Building. Credit: Kate Myers/Penn State

Exterior of building with many window panes

The exterior of the Engineering Design and Innovation Building shown as it neared completion. Credit: Tyler Henderson/Penn State

person speaking at a podium

Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi spoke about the talent of Penn State engineering students and how the new building will enable their future success. Credit: Kate Myers/Penn State

people view down from a second-story viewing area to the ceremony chairs on the first floor

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in the Engineering Design and Innovation Building's three-story high bay, complete with cranes, a monolithically poured strong wall and a 24-inch-thick strong floor for engineering research and instruction. Credt: Kate Myers/Penn State