URI ushers in new era with $150M engineering complex


KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Years after Rhode Island voters approved $150 million in bond money, the University of Rhode Island is celebrating the opening of its new engineering complex.

A who’s who of local, state and federal leaders were among the more than 500 people who attended a ceremony Monday morning marking the opening of The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering at the school.

The school said the Fascitelli Center opened to students in September. Work began in 2017 on the project – which the school said is the largest in the university’s history.

The school said the design of the six-story building allows for open spaces that “foster collaborative teaching, learning and research across engineering disciplines and with other academic disciplines.”

“Increasingly, our engineering students and faculty are not only working in interdisciplinary teams within the College, but with students and faculty from across the University in oceanography, health, pharmacy, chemistry, computer science and business, as well as companies and corporations around the state, region and the world,” URI President David Dooley said. “This new facility will stimulate collaborative, multidisciplinary learning and research. It will lead to discoveries that we cannot even imagine today.”

An expansion of Bliss Hall – which is the historic home of URI’s engineering program – is also part of the bond project and is expected to be ready by November, the school said.

“This new, state-of-the-art facility will help ensure that URI continues to be a global leader in engineering education for decades to come,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said. “There’s no greater investment we can make than in our students and their futures, and I’m excited to see the innovative research and collaborative learning that will result from this unique project.”

The building is named after Michael Fascitelli – a graduate of the College of Engineering – and his wife Elizabeth. The couple made a $10 million gift to the engineering college, $5 million of which will fund lab and research equipment.

The Fascitelli Center replaces five outdated engineering structures that were razed to make way for the new facility.

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