Christian Brothers University to break ground on $4.2M expansion of engineering laboratory

What’s happening: Christian Brothers University will be celebrating Valentine’s Day a little differently than most this year, as the Memphis university is expected to break ground on a $4.2 million, approximately 4,700 sq. ft. expansion of St. Benilde Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The expansion ushers in a new packaging program for the school, and includes plans for a certified thermal laboratory, which could make CBU the first university in the world to host such a laboratory.

What’s planned: The $4.2 million expansion of St. Benilde Hall complements CBU’s new packaging program by way of the university’s Gadomski School of Engineering. Currently the site of CBU’s ISTA Certified Transport Testing Laboratory, St. Benilde Hall will soon add a design lab and an ISTA Certified Thermal Testing Laboratory. New equipment will include a vibration table, drop tester, incline impact tester, compression tables and three new, state-of-the-art environmental chambers. It’s expected to open in 2024.

Higher ground: “I couldn’t be more excited about creating such an exclusive and innovative program for our students and our university,” says CBU Packaging Initiatives Coordinator Dr. Siripong Malasri. “My early vision for this project started with a dream about a packaging institute for our collaboration with industry partners. Since 2010, we have collaborated with various companies under the Healthcare Packaging Consortium. Current members include FedEx, International Paper, Smith + Nephew, Medtronic, Stryker, Crossroad Extremity Systems, and more. With the new space and equipment, the collaboration will be elevated to a higher level.”

The project is expected to be a $4.2M investment, led by Fleming Architects and Linkous Construction as general contractor.

Exclusive company: With the construction of its ISTA Certified Thermal Testing Laboratory, CBU expects to become the first university to host a laboratory of this kind. There are currently only 11 certified thermal labs in the world, and none at a university.

Why it’s important: The university expects that the new packaging program and lab will help recruit more students to the field, and could become a revenue generator beyond enrollment. It enables CBU to become more competitive in packaging education and research, recruiting,
and commercial testing services.

What they’re saying: “The faculty and leadership of the Gadomski School of Engineering is excited about the significant expansion of St. Benilde Hall,” says Dr. Faris Malhas, Dean of the Gadomski School of Engineering. “It will definitely provide more laboratory space for our engineering programs and hence improve the experiential learning opportunities for our students.”
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