At the beginning of the fall semester, the new engineering building, Rice Hall, welcomed both graduate and undergraduate students to its classrooms and labs. It’s the new home of the computer science department and the computer engineering program. Its six stories and 100,000 square feet include black-painted labs that reduce stray light for engineers working with light measurement and visualization. The Design Laboratory, the biggest space in the building, opens onto a courtyard for outdoor lab work.
Rice Hall will also benefit engineering students beyond Grounds as the base for the school’s distance-learning initiatives, including the “Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia” program that allows students in the Commonwealth to complete an engineering degree while remaining in their communities. Audio and video teleconferencing at Rice Hall will connect instructors in Charlottesville with students all over the state.
The building uses water instead of air for cooling, and other energy-saving technologies provide lighting and heat. While students learn about computer visualization, telemedicine and virtual reality, the Rice Hall Information Technology Engineering Building will itself function as a laboratory on energy use.