As of Spring 2021, The Computer Science Department has begun operations in their new facility.
Previously, they had been delegated to the Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) building, which is behind the alumni building. Now, they have been moved to what is now called the Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) building.
Before it was renovated, the ECS building was the Health Center. It wasn’t being used very much by the student body, making it a prime candidate to be renovated for another purpose.
Among the faculty, this was considered to be a significant upgrade in comparison to the previous buildings, which only had one classroom and an area that was turned into offices, but the new one has three offices, two classrooms, and a lab.
According to CIS professor Dr. John Eickemeyer, “They have completely equipped (the classrooms) with the current modality to where we are offering things to students face to face as well as to students remotely.”
Not only has the building been repurposed so that it could be used by and host classes for the Computer Science Department, but also to live-remote accommodate students. While in comparison the ECS building seems small, it’s actually a decent size for the department. The department is itself small, currently only having two programs and two full-time faculty members, and it doesn’t need much space to fulfill its role.
The only issues that have come up are just figuring out how the tech works, a little bit of needed polish, and some aesthetic changes
The important feature of the new building is the inclusion of the lab. While it doesn’t have any computers, it can be used for other purposes.
The students have their own laptops, giving them all that they need. Everything else can be done in the cloud. Eickemeyer assured that the equipment needed for the hardware would be provided.
Because the new lab has given them space for hardware to be tinkered with, the department was able to develop three new engineering programs.
Chair of the Computer Science Department, Dr. David Crater says that “we would not be starting engineering programs out of that other building, so this building has enabled the engineering programs.”
While they are also introducing a new artificial intelligence program, that most likely would have been in development no matter what.
The three engineering programs that they are tackling are the computer engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering programs, which are the three biggest in the engineering field.
“We think that engineering is a fulfillment of the creation mandate,” Crater declared. “We hope we can… send out engineering students to be able to produce, design, and create fantastic new things for our society and the world in the coming years… and to help further advance the Kingdom of God.”
Because of this new building, the Computer Science Department can grow into something much greater. They are now able to create new programs that can contribute to both the academic influence of Master’s and to the workforce.
There are plans in place to have another section built during summer 2022, to implement a larger workspace to accommodate the mechanical engineering program.