HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- A major feat of engineering is taking shape on the campus of Marshall University.
That's fitting considering the facility will be the future home to Marshall's College of Information Technology and Engineering. The college is currently housed in the 52-year-old Gullickson Hall.
The new 145,000-square-foot structure will be named the Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex. It is the largest capital project in the university's history and will house millions of dollars' worth of machinery and equipment that will far surpass the capabilities of most engineering institutions nationwide.
The Daily Mail was invited to put on hard hats and join Marshall officials in a tour of the construction site. With a completion date set for March 2015, there's still plenty of work to be done on the facility's interior.
As of late last month, the shell of the facility was about 98 percent finished. The structure, which took nearly a year of hard-core planning, will have five floors of research labs and classrooms. A structures lab is being built on the building's west side and will feature an L-shaped post-tensioned concrete strong wall and a 3-foot-thick floor that enables testing of full-scale substructures.
Construction of the new facility began in October 2012, following the completion of the Sixth Avenue parking garage that was said to replace parking the university lost with this project.
"Our contractors spent a year drawing up a blueprint for this facility," said Ron May, director of facilities planning and management at Marshall. "They had to work out an assortment of issues . . . everything from the placement of the network of cables to plumbing and electrical. This is a new facility so we wanted to use modern equipment in this build. We didn't want to use anything outdated."
The idea of the new facility stemmed from the university's current president, Stephen Kopp.
"Engineering is one of the fastest growing areas of study at Marshall," said Matt Turner, Marshall's chief of staff. "We saw it as a growth area for us . . . Engineers are in high demand.
"Dr. Kopp envisioned an expansion of our STEM fields and we are seeing that vision become a reality today with the construction of this facility."
The facility will bear the name of the Arthur Weisberg family. Donor Arthur Weisberg, former president of Arthur's Enterprises in Huntington, chose to contribute to the complex because he wanted to give back to the university.
By the family's request, Marshall did not disclose the dollar amount received from the Weisberg family. However, under the university's official policy, the gift would have to be several million dollars in order for the building to carry the family name.
Arthur Weisberg died in November 2012, at the age of 88. He received his bachelor's degree of electrical engineering at Marshall and then established State Electric Supply Co. in Huntington in 1952 with his wife, Joan.