UAB celebrates groundbreaking of Frances and Miller Gorrie Hall for School of Engineering
August 1, 2023 · Projects
Gorrie Hall will allow the UAB School of Engineering to blend advanced hands-on learning and real-world industry experience to prepare students for early-career success.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Engineering will soon have a new home. After years of being housed in multiple locations, the school will relocate to the new Frances and Miller Gorrie Hall, part of the Science and Engineering Complex.
As UAB continues to see tremendous growth, the School of Engineering endeavors to build a facility that will support its goals of attracting faculty, increasing grant funding and training the next generation.
“Gorrie Hall, the new, state-of-the-art home for our School of Engineering will bring greater collaboration, innovation and competitiveness in attracting top students and faculty, as well as increased grant funding for leading-edge research,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees voted in 2022 to name the building after the Gorries in grateful recognition of the Gorrie family and Brasfield & Gorrie’s longtime efforts to support the university. “We are grateful to the Gorrie family and to our other partners community- and statewide for helping us build on the excellence of UAB Engineering.”
Architecture and engineering firm Goodwyn Mills Cawood is designing the building, with Lord Aeck Sargent (LAS) serving as the lab and research spaces consultant and Brasfield & Gorrie as general contractor.
The sophisticated technology and design of Gorrie Hall will be on display in prominently featured “showpiece” spaces throughout the nearly 116,000-square-foot facility. These advanced labs, research suites and common areas will form the core of students’ college experiences and the heart of UAB Engineering for years to come.
To ensure that UAB’s diverse student population has every opportunity to thrive, the Student Success Center will be composed of three major components:
- Peer Tutoring Lab: The peer tutoring lab provides face-to-face, individualized academic support for all first- and second-year courses, improving retention rates and encouraging successful academic outcomes.
- Mentorship Programs: These additional student support systems will offer multiple layers of mentoring — from peers, alumni and local professionals.
- Internship and Career Center: This center will provide students with hands-on, real-world experience through a guaranteed internship program while also introducing them to potential employers.
The 2,000-square-foot materials testing lab will house the equipment needed to conduct compression, bending, tensile and impact testing on materials ranging from concrete and steel to gels and foams. This lab will be crucial not only to graduates’ training, but also to efforts to introduce local K-12 students to potential careers in engineering.
Additional features of the building will include research and teaching labs, a design and rapid prototyping lab, transportation and smart cities research suite, student study commons, and outdoor patio.
“Design of science and engineering buildings has changed so much in the last 30-plus years,” said Jeffrey W. Holmes, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the UAB School of Engineering. “This building will allow us to bring the majority of our academic and research efforts together under one roof for the first time. Students, staff and faculty from all our departments will be constantly interacting in the hallways and the offices.”
Construction is expected to be complete in summer 2025.
Photo credit: Andrea Mabry/UAB University Relations