URI marks milestone on new College of Engineering building project

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SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Tearing down and building up has been going on for about a year at the University of Rhode Island. But university officials and builders came together Friday morning to celebrate the final piece of structural steel being put into place on a massive new complex.

The new College of Engineering, with a $150 million price tag, is the largest project in the university’s history, at 190,000 square feet of space when it’s completed. Classes expected to start in the building during September 2019.

“Active classrooms,” vibration-proof laboratories, computer labs, offices and more will be housed in the building. It was paid for by a taxpayer-approved bond issue in 2014. A 2016 measure was approved to allot $25.5 million for a second phase of the project, to upgrade and expand Bliss Hall.

The complex replaces five older engineering buildings: Crawford Hall, Gilbreth Hall, Kelly Hall, Kelly Hall Annex and Wales Hall, all of which opened in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

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