University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
September 14, 2009
Contact: Renee Paul, Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6640

USA Breaks Ground on Shelby Hall, a State-of-the-Art Engineering and Computing Sciences Building

USA Breaks Ground on Shelby Hall, a State-of-the-Art Engineering and Computing Sciences Building

The University of South Alabama today broke ground on Shelby Hall, a 155,000-square-foot engineering and computing sciences building that is expected to spur local economic development by generating new technological advances and providing state-of-the-art education for the next generation of engineers and computer science professionals.

The new building was named Shelby Hall – Engineering and Computing Sciences Building - in honor of U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby and his wife, Dr. Annette Shelby. A longtime supporter of USA and its academic programs, Sen. Shelby was instrumental in securing more than $40 million in federal funding for the project.

Slated for completion in September 2011, the facility will include technologically advanced multimedia classrooms, laboratory space and computing facilities for both the College of Engineering and the School of Computer and Information Sciences at USA. It will be built on USA’s main campus at the intersection of University Boulevard and Old Shell Road.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby whose steadfast support over many years has made this facility a reality,” USA President Gordon Moulton said. “His commitment to the University of South Alabama and to science and engineering education in this state will continue to enhance the quality of life for all Alabamians for generations to come.”

According to Sen. Shelby, the time is right for this new high-tech facility.

“I believe very strongly in the need for Alabama's colleges and universities to offer exemplary education in science and engineering,” Sen. Shelby said. “The Mobile area has seen exceptional growth in the aerospace and medical research fields. The expanding science and technology-based industry in Mobile will only demand more university-skilled workers for high-paying jobs in the future. The new Center will allow USA to prepare students for that workforce.”

Dr. John Steadman, dean of the College of Engineering, said the new building will enable the College of Engineering to ensure the highest quality education, preparation and hands-on experiences available for engineering students, providing the community with highly motivated and skilled engineers.

“The faculty and students of the College of Engineering are excited to have our dreams for Shelby Hall coming to reality,” Steadman said. “The Engineering and Computing Sciences Building will provide students with state-of-the-art learning resources such as laboratories, multimedia classrooms, student design labs, and study rooms. This wonderful facility has already attracted great new faculty and students to the University of South Alabama and will only increase our impact in the coming years. It will be a focal point for education and research supporting economic development along the Gulf Coast. We thank Senator Shelby for his leadership in securing funds for the building, as well as the USA administration and our corporate partners who have stepped forward to make this happen.”

According to Dr. Alec Yasinsac, dean of the School of Computer and Information Sciences, Mobile is evolving toward technology-driven commerce, and healthy economic growth in the community depends heavily on USA’s ability to train those who will fill high-tech positions.

“The Shelby Hall groundbreaking ushers in a new era for the University of South Alabama School of Computer and Information Sciences,” Yasinsac said. “This state-of-the-art facility will house world-class computing research, coupled with nationally recognized instructional programs, and buttressed with industrial partners that ensure our work is effective. The new laboratory spaces allow us to expand our most successful programs in embedded computing and robotics and to add new and exciting research areas, such as computing forensics and information security. Added classroom and student study space will allow the growth that is demanded by industrial expansion in the Gulf Coast region. We are excited to move into the era of computing in style, in Shelby Hall.”

In addition to its role in preparing the next generation of engineers and computing science professionals, Shelby Hall will encourage new partnerships between student and faculty researchers and local industry, generating new technology and more opportunities for economic development. Housing both the College of Engineering and School of Computer and Information Sciences together in one building also enhances collaboration and partnership between the two disciplines, creating a more dynamic learning environment.

Shelby Hall is one of many USA initiatives supported by Sen. Shelby that have had a great impact on the quality of life for the state’s citizens.

Since 1998, Sen. Shelby has been instrumental in helping USA secure federal funding for numerous projects, supporting such areas as the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Telemedicine, Coastal Engineering, Rural Vehicular Trauma Study, USA Transit System, Center for Estuarine Research, Youth Violence Prevention, Mitchell College of Business, Oyster Bed Restoration, High Strength Composite Materials, High Peak Power Plasma Thruster, Coastal Weather Research Center, Hurricane Intensity Research, and Shelby Hall.

College of Engineering
The College of Engineering offers both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in chemical, civil, electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering. The college currently enrolls 1,189 students and has awarded more than 4,095 degrees throughout its history.

School of Computer and Information Sciences
The School of Computer and Information Sciences offers bachelor’s degrees in computer science, Information Systems and Information Technology. A bachelor’s degree in computer engineering is also offered through a joint program with the College of Engineering. At the graduate level, CIS offers a master’s in computer and information sciences with specializations in computer science and information systems. The school currently enrolls 443 students and has awarded more than 1,976 degrees.

University of South Alabama
Since its founding in 1963, the University of South Alabama has been one of Alabama’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling 14,757 students in a wide range of academic programs in Allied Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, Mitchell College of Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The University has awarded more than 64,500 degrees.
In addition to teaching and research, USA is one of the largest health care providers in the Mobile region, with its faculty physicians and two hospitals – USA Children’s & Women’s and USA Medical Center – involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually. USA is also home to the Mitchell Cancer Institute, the first academic cancer research institute in the upper Gulf Coast region.


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