FIU is expanding its College of Engineering and Computing with a 125,000 square-foot, six-story building that will house makerspace labs, active learning classrooms and research laboratories at Modesto A. Maidique Campus.
On Thursday, the university held a groundbreaking ceremony near the future home of the new building. Florida Lt. Governor and FIU alumna Jeanette Nuñez joined President Mark B. Rosenberg, Raul Moas, Miami program director of the John S. and James L Knight Foundation, current and former South Florida legislators, FIU trustees, donors and FIU staff at the event.
“This is an important step we’re taking today, one that will change the game for our FIU, for our city and for the great State of Florida,” Rosenberg said. “With our collaborators at the local and state level, along with our partnership with the Knight Foundation and the support of donors, we are creating a key hub of talent and innovation, one that allows us to seize this important moment.”
The new multidisciplinary facility is designed to better prepare the next generation of engineering and computing professionals as part of an effort to help graduate more engineers and expand innovation in Miami and throughout the state. The LEED Certified Gold building will feature 20,000 square feet of interactive research and teaching space with best-in-class computing and prototyping equipment for advancements in the fields of cybersecurity, nanotechnology drug delivery and environmental resilience.
The $48.4 million facility will be constructed near the corner of Southwest 8th Street and Southwest 107th Avenue thanks in large part to a state legislative appropriation of $39 million and additional philanthropic and research funding. Technology in the building will be enhanced with private funds, including part of a $10 million gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) is home to nearly 8,000 engineering and computing students, including more than 1,000 graduate students. FIU engineering programs have grown a total of 39 percent over the last four years, with computer science seeing a 60 percent increase in the number of students enrolled since 2017. In 2020, CEC graduated nearly 2,000 engineers and computer scientists.
Nuñez said: “Were it not for FIU, where would those students be today? Where would their lives, our own community and our state be? I can assure you that FIU is on the rise. As we all excel, I think that means great things for the State of Florida. We’re building dreams. We’re building community. And we’re building a future for our children.”
The college was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanic students and No. 6 in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African Americans by the American Society for Engineering Association (ASEE) in 2020.
“This next era of FIU Engineering is leveraging the forward momentum of the past few years,” said John Volakis, dean of the college.
The engineering expansion will position FIU to graduate an additional 500 engineers each year, create hundreds of more jobs in South Florida and increase research spending by $30 million a year.
See more photos of the event in the gallery below.