Construction is officially complete on the interior renovation of ME’s Walter E. Lay Automotive Laboratory building. The U-M College of Engineering approved an interior renovation of the space in winter of 2013 and Phase 1 of construction began in May 2016. The project was completed in the summer of 2017.
The Auto Lab is an invaluable asset to the Department and its unique experimental facilities enable high-impact and internationally recognized research in transportation, combustion, and many other fields. The building serves some 140 occupants, including faculty, staff and over 100 research students and visitors. The lab is home to several major research centers, including the Automotive Research Center (ARC), the US-China Clean Energy Research Center and the GM/University of Michigan Engine Systems Collaborative Research Laboratory. Combined, the Auto Lab annual research expenditures top $10 million.
“This project provided a much-needed facelift to the interior of the Auto Lab,” said Noel Perkins, Donald T. Greenwood Collegiate Professor and former associate chair for facilities and planning.“In particular, the new lounge and meeting spaces promote the sense of community we aim for within the whole of Mechanical Engineering. We remain grateful for the support offered by the College of Engineering and to the ideas (and patience!) offered by our Auto Lab faculty, staff, and students… heartfelt thanks to all.”
The renovation includes updated corridors and staircases, improved lighting and display areas, anew lounge and conference rooms as well as updated restrooms and an added lactation room.
The Lab’s flooring and walls received new surface finishes and the faculty and student offices were upgraded. The renovation project also included some HVAC and electrical upgrades as well.
“The outcome has been really positive and has allowed the Auto Lab occupants to have a much better working environment and to showcase their outstanding research in befitting ways,” said Kon-Well Wang, Tim Manganello/BorgWarner Department Chair and Stephen P. Timoshenko Collegiate Professor. “This project greatly enhances the work space for, and productivity of, the faculty, students and staff and improves the experience for visitors who come from around the world to learn about the Auto Lab’s programs.”