New Engineering Lab a Big Hit with Students, Faculty

By Nathan Porter, Class of 2013

Engineering students have the opportunity to work on a Formula SAE racecar.
Engineering students have the opportunity to work on a Formula SAE racecar.

Engineering is one of the most challenging degrees offered at Oral Roberts University. A new lab that was dedicated on April 12 is giving students more tools to succeed.

In 2010, the Tulsa-based Helmerich Foundation offered a $250,000 grant (payable over five years) to build more lab space. Ultimately, the ORU administration decided to remodel existing space on the east side of the Learning Resources Center's ground floor.

Since it opened in March, the lab has proven to be a great asset for both engineering students and professors.

"It causes excitement among students and faculty, and helps us to better prepare for when the students leave and enter the workforce," said engineering chair Dr. John Matsson.

Along with being more than four times larger than its predecessor, the 5,000-square-foot lab provides a safer environment. The old lab, Matsson said, "was too small of an area, and the fumes from welding weren't good. As a result, we couldn't have classes with many students at the same time."

The new lab has not only given students more space to work on projects, but has allowed professors to bring their classes into the lab regularly.

Mechanical engineering major Jeramy Roberts said he appreciates the upgraded facilities.

"The lab has more room and more materials, so we can design and create without being burdened by the lack of space," said Roberts.

Roberts said he hopes to work as an environmental engineer after graduation, and believes the new lab will help him in that pursuit.

"Since we have more machinery, we can perform different techniques, which has really benefited us as engineers," said Roberts.

Inside the lab, students have access to various welding machines, a new milling machine, a 3-D printer, and other resources. There is also a technician's office and a new computer lab with 20 work stations.

The lab houses a Formula SAE racecar that is continually being worked on by students and a composite aircraft that is used in several engineering courses, including Manufacturing Processes.