Associate Vice President and Chief Development Officer
As we move closer to the potential for a spring 2014 groundbreaking for Phase One of the new TELSA Complex, the excitement this facility is generating among our students, faculty, staff, and alumni is palpable. The understanding of how upgraded and flexible lab and classroom facilities will impact Lawrence Tech’s commitment to Theory and Practice is creating a high level of anticipation.
I’ve had the chance to speak with many alumni and friends of the University about this project, and a question that invariably arises is, “Are you building just for the sake of having another new building on campus?” That question needs to be addressed on two levels.
Implicit in the question is a concern that there has been a good deal of new construction on campus over the past few years, and has that really been necessary? The new buildings on campus over the last decade or so include the University Technology and Learning Center (UTLC), Campus Housing North, and the A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center. Each has met some very specific needs that our facilities prior to construction could not accommodate.
The UTLC was built, largely, to help meet the demands of our Architecture program, which was experiencing significant growth at the time. Did you know LTU’s architecture program is larger than the combined enrollment of the other three accredited architecture programs in Michigan (Andrews University, UD-Mercy, and U of M)? Accreditation in Architecture requires dedicated studio space for junior and senior level students, which the UTLC provides (basically the entire 3rd and 4th floors).
Housing North was built to accommodate a demand for more on-campus housing. With this addition, LTU was able to provide housing for more than 600 students to live on campus. For the past few years, our residence halls have been running at near or full occupancy, often with a waiting list.
The Taubman Student Services Center was built to better accommodate the offices that serve the needs of students outside the classroom. Services such as Financial Aid, the Registrar, Career Services, Counseling, and Tutoring now are all located in the same building, with space that allows private meeting rooms for staff from each of these areas to work with students instead of sending them chasing across campus from building to building for the assistance they need. Since this building opened, LTU has received significantly higher reviews from our students in regards to these types of services.
So now we come to the TELSA Complex. What is driving the need for this project? Lawrence Tech has several academic programs that are experiencing strong growth, and need modern-day facilities to support their curricula. Programs like Robotics, Bio-Medical Engineering, Architectural Engineering, and Transportation Design are popular not only with in-coming students, but also with employers who are hiring graduates from these programs as soon as they leave campus (and in many cases, before they even graduate). As these programs continue to develop, the TELSA Complex will provide the flexible classroom (Theory) and laboratory (Practice) facilities these programs, along with others, need.
So in answer to the question as to whether we are building just for the sake of building, the answer is, “No, we are building because it will help us better serve Lawrence Tech Students and the programs in which they are studying.” I believe the Lawrence brothers would be proud to know that their philosophy of “Theory and Practice” is alive and thriving on campus, and that our focus on new facilities is being driven by a commitment to ensure that we continue to support that philosophy.
Please join those who have already made a commitment to this project! We’d be happy to talk to you about opportunities to support Lawrence Tech students through your gift to the TELSA Complex.