The Prince Engineering Design Center and the Vermeer Engineering Projects Center consists of two large work areas specifically arranged to facilitate students engaged in design activities related to various engineering projects, especially the capstone Senior Design course. This building provides space and equipment for all Calvin student-engineers to do research, design models, and build and test prototypes.
A building that teaches
The building houses faculty and student research, senior projects, metal and wood shops, and many other project facilities. Completed in the fall of 1999, the building itself is instrumented for use as a teaching tool. All the major building systems — structural, heating & cooling, electrical — serve as teaching devices. Some examples: strain gages applied on the roof trusses allow for load-deflection and stress/strain analysis; instrumentation on the air handling unit and thermocouples on the wall surfaces allow for thermodynamic analyses; and electrical power monitoring devices connected to a computer-based data acquisition system allow for remote analysis of energy usage.
Other features include several overhead doors and cranes to handle large-scale items — allowing Calvin engineering students to conceive and produce projects up to the size that can be delivered on a flatbed truck. A Wet Lab is included which can house large-scale hydraulic systems. A Design Yard offers the opportunity for testing bridge components and solar powered systems. The Machine and Wood Shops are designed to accommodate large machines such as numerically controlled milling machines. The interior shop walls are constructed with glass panels to provide high visibility and isolation of noise and particles.
A creative and interactive environment
Whether Calvin engineering students are working on design projects or developing life-skills, their professors serve not only as teachers, but also as models and mentors. Our facility provides an environment that fosters important student/faculty relationships, incorporating space where students and faculty can share their time, their faith and their experiences. The mezzanine includes a study area with tables, chairs, and computer workstations. Several faculty offices are located on the perimeter of the facility, offering easy access for students.
Additional learning areas and resources
Departmental laboratories in the Science Building and DeVries Hall include computer aided graphics and design, chemical engineering, fluid/thermal sciences, vibrations/material science, instrumentation, electronics, and hydraulics/soil mechanics. Computer-driven machine tools are also available. The reading and reference room includes a collection of books, journals, and handbooks dedicated to engineering. Computers and Engineering Computer Programs are used throughout the program, starting in the first-year Graphical Communication and Concept Design course and there are plenty of computers in a few labs which engineering students have access to.