State transportation department invests $1 million for new UA civil engineering center in Fayetteville

A conceptual rendering of the new Civil Engineering Research and Education Center.

Courtesy photo

A $1 million investment from the Arkansas Department of Transportation will help build a new Civil Engineering Research and Education Center for the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

The new facility will be located at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park off South School Avenue, and will serve as a “living laboratory” for civil engineering undergraduates to gain practical experience while studying at the UA. The center is also expected to benefit researchers and companies across the state.

From the UA:

Students will use the center’s design and construction process to explore topics in construction techniques and management; computer-aided design and drafting; plan development; construction materials; soil mechanics and foundation design; structural steel design and reinforced concrete design. The Civil Engineering Research and Education Center will also provide students with vital opportunities for hands-on experience through laboratory exercises and research activities and will truly be a statewide resource.

“We’re deeply appreciative of ArDOT’s support of our students, staff and faculty through their funding to the Civil Engineering Research and Education Center,” said Micah Hale, professor and head of the Department of Civil Engineering, in a statement. “The center will be a one-of-a-kind facility in Arkansas and in our region, providing students and engineers from across Arkansas an opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research which will have impact at the local, state and national levels.”

Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said the department’s research at the university began in 1953 and has since led to over 200 projects. He said in recent history, the partnership has resulted in $23 million in investment with an estimated return of $35 million in value.

“As the state’s largest employer of civil engineers, we are looking forward to this new partnership leading to even more success for the U of A, for ArDOT, and ultimately for the citizens who use Arkansas’ transportation system every day,” Bennett said.