Expansion of Acopian Engineering Center set to open in fall 2022


The fifth-floor will include bioengineering and robotics laboratories. (Photo by Kwasi Obeng-Dankwa ’23 for The Lafayette)

By Phoebe Goltra, Contributing Writer

Last summer, construction commenced for a fifth-floor addition to the Acopian Engineering Center, which will be named the Scott Pavilion. The expansion is on schedule to have the classrooms on the fifth floor ready by the beginning of the upcoming fall semester.

This initiative is the most recent phase in ongoing renovations to Acopian that began in 2019, with the goal of providing a top-notch learning environment in the engineering division. The 4,000 square-foot expansion will include three high-tech smart classrooms along the perimeter, which are equipped with computers connected to the campus network and facilitate interactive multimedia projection systems.

The renovations will also include a collaboration space in the center, which will feature glass walls that allow for natural light to travel through the entire fifth floor, creating an inviting space for students to study together. The expansion will also pave the way for the Engineering department’s student enrollment growth. 

“There’s now more open, flexible space for gathering outside of class and more windows to allow greater visibility and natural light,” according to a Lafayette communication written by Brian Hay. “Reconfigured rooms have updated furnishings, new AV equipment and lighting, and casework cubbies with whiteboard surfaces to make identification a cinch.” 

The most recent development in the renovations was the completion of the fifth floor’s steel installation, completed over Winter Break. The construction of the perimeter sill and parapet framing is underway and will be nearing completion. 

Director of Facilities Operations Scott Kennedy said that the next construction milestone will be “completing the weather tightness of the expansion, [including] glazing and roofing, which will allow the interior construction to progress.” 

The fifth-floor addition is exciting for engineering students and faculty alike. The development of state-of-the-art facilities, including bioengineering and robotics laboratories, will offer an enhanced learning experience for both engineering and non-engineering students. The expansion provides an opportunity to attract more students to the program and reaffirm Lafayette’s position as a highly ranked engineering school.

“Enrollment in Lafayette’s engineering program has grown by fifteen percent in the last eight years,” Hay wrote. “Women account for over forty percent of the total engineering enrollment, compared to twenty-five percent just a decade ago.”

The ongoing Acopian renovations reflect the engineering department’s vision to foster an inclusive, collaborative and productive learning environment for students.

“I’m really excited to see the new fifth floor,” Olivia Zoretic ‘24, a member of Lafayette’s new integrated engineering program, said. “I think having this extra space will really increase opportunities for collaboration and group learning.”