Mark Engineering Center awarded Diamond Award

Michelle Grossbauer, Staff Writer

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The Mark Engineering Center in Stark Learning Center was created to give engineering students the necessary tools to compete with industry demands. This center was awarded the 2019 Diamond Award for Engineering Excellence last month.

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA) presented this award in the building and technology systems category (Category B).

The 20,000 square foot renovation kept engineering students and faculty in mind. They created open concept hangout areas while keeping classrooms and study rooms still private, but visible for all to view.

The changes include flex-labs, a manufacturing lab, faculty office suites, handicap able lobbies and new entrance doors. There were changes made to the multi-purpose wet lab and microfabrication suite.

They also focused on doing energy efficient renovations which include the LED lighting as well as a flow system for heating and air conditioning.

The Mark Engineering building was named after Randy and Robin Mark. Randy Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in 1981 from Wilkes. He is the founder of Pulverman, a global manufacturing company that distributes metal components which is located in Dallas, Pa. He has served on the board of trustees for Wilkes University since 2013.

Dr. Prahlad Murthy, Dean of the College of Science & Engineering, explained that the award was given to the engineering firm, Borton-Lawson, that did the renovations for Wilkes University.

Wilkes University was represented by Joseph Demarteau, special assistant to executive director and facilities, at the awards ceremony held in Lancaster last month. Assistant to the Dean, Tracy Polumbo, was also present at the awards ceremony.

Murthy and Polumbo have witnessed the first impression the new center makes on prospective students.

Polumbo said since the renovations have been made, she always sees students engaging, even when she arrives in the early morning.

“Environment plays a large part in learning,” Murthy said. “It just makes me feel better. I have been here for 26 years and this was an easy and positive adjustment.”

Murthy  said  that faculty and students both want a good class atmosphere. Students can be proud to show off their creations, such as the art made from a 3-D printer in one of the labs.

This is also used as a marketing tool by Wilkes University to entice new students. Murthy said someone who is not from the Wilkes-Barre area can now come to Wilkes University and be impressed by the modern designs of the restored buildings.

Polumbo pointed out Dr. Lucent’s Computational Research Lab. This is a study room designated for students to do research for professor Dr. Lucent. This was an addition included in the renovations.

Polumbo said how students used to have to walk up three floors just to find their advisor’s office. Murthy expressed how there are many students that are not engineering majors that have classes in these areas. He believes it is great to see how easy the Mark Engineering Center is now for everyone to navigate.

Lukas Wood, a senior engineering major, has seen the process of these changes being made throughout all of his years at Wilkes.

“The Mark Engineering Center has been an awesome upgrade and finally makes Stark actually feel like a true University building,” Wood stated.

Wilkes University offers a large variety of majors, minors, and master’s programs in the engineering field. Murthy is optimistic in hoping these renovations benefit existing students as well as drive new engineering students to come to Wilkes University.

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