Campus, News

Bioengineering Teaching and Entrepreneurship Center to open in spring

Boston University’s Bioengineering Teaching & Entrepreneurship Center at the College of Engineering will open for classes next spring. LAURYN ALLEN/ DFP FILE PHOTO

Starting in April 2020, the new Bioengineering Teaching and Entrepreneurship Center on Cummington Mall will open its doors to host classes and labs for students. 

John White, professor and chair of the biomedical engineering department, wrote in an email that the building came about from a desire to further accommodate students studying biomedical engineering.

“As a top-ranked BME department,” White wrote, “it is important that we give students hands-on training that represents tomorrow’s trends and maximizes their chances for professional success.”

White wrote that the main purpose of the facility will be to host classes and labs for bioengineering students and the space will give students the chance to research important new topics in the field.

“The new lab spaces will give students opportunities to learn much more about how bioengineers can engineer cells for cancer therapies,” White wrote, “and to learn about the advanced data analysis that is becoming so important in health care.” 

White wrote the building will additionally be open to biomedical engineering students for personal use, as well as providing a space for networking and internship preparation.

“Industry partners may use the facility during winter session and the summer to train employees,” White wrote. “Interactions between students and industry partners will ease the students’ paths into internships and eventual permanent jobs.”

Colleen McGinty, the executive director of construction services at Boston University, has been working on the building and said this project has been in the works for over a year.

“We started planning the project well over 18 months ago,” McGinty said. “That’s when they started talking about the project.”

White wrote that the ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for April 2020, and they hope to open for classes quickly after. 

McGinty said they began the building process in May 2019 and are nearly finished.

“We still have some of what we call ‘punch-list’ items,” McGinty said. “But for all practical purposes, it was a May through November project.”

White wrote that the project received help from Kenneth Lutchen, the dean of the College of Engineering.

“He and his staff helped us work with the central administration to create a space that is both beautiful and functional,” White wrote.

White also wrote that Lutchen found donors, including BU alumni, who made contributions to the building’s funds.

The fundraising goal was $1.75 million, and according to the BTEC website, they are over halfway towards their goal with $1 million raised so far. 

Grace Bag, a junior in ENG, said she looks forward to having another place to work.

“It’s another place to create and collaborate aside from [the Engineering Project Innovation Center],”  Bag said, “so if EPIC isn’t available, it’s reassuring that there’s another area to do this.”

Gabrielle Bussiere, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, said while she isn’t majoring in engineering, she can see the benefits of the new space.

“Extra space for lecturing and study spaces I think is really important,” Bussiere said. “And I think this new building will provide a collective space for these students to work together and prosper within their program.”

Peter Crary, a freshman in ENG, said the space will help all engineering students, whether or not they use the new building.

“This new facility will provide invaluable resources to both biomedical engineering majors and the engineering department as a whole,” Crary said. “As an electrical engineering student, its labs may not benefit me directly, but this focus on the field of biomedical engineering will certainly propel BU into the future and emphasize our concern as societal engineers.”

Nisha Rao and Matthew Sensabaugh contributed to the reporting of this article.

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