MVNU’s engineering program will move to the former Farley and Moore Antiques building in downtown Mount Vernon as early as fall of 2018.
On March 17, MVNU’s Board of Trustees accepted the donation of the South Main Street building from Ariel Corporation in Knox County.
“The decision to move our engineering program to Main Street is a good moment for the University,” said MVNU President Dr. Henry Spaulding.
Moving downtown creates countless opportunities for engineering students that do not exist at the department’s present location in the Clarence and Jennie Moore Center, MVNU officials said.
The new building will provide 10,824-square feet of shop, lab and classroom space for the students.
MVNU’s engineering program began in the fall of 2014. Currently, the program shares the Moore building with the education department and Esther Jetter Preschool.
Associate Professor of Engineering Dr. David Winyard said he is excited for the transition and expects the move will encourage a partnership between the engineering program and Knox Labs.
Knox Labs is a makerspace startup located in downtown Mount Vernon. Knox Labs provides a spot for local entrepreneurs to share ideas related to computers, science, agriculture, technology, woodworking and more.
Winyard hopes to see MVNU students collaborate with local engineers on research projects and potential internships. This partnership would benefit both the community and MVNU engineering majors, Winyard said.
Besides the increased academic and professional opportunities the space will provide, Winyard said he expects to see other positives come from engineering’s move to downtown.
“Improvements in transportation and food service downtown are likely because of the increased number of students,” he said.
Junior mechanical engineering major Caleb Ledford will graduate before the building is ready for occupancy. However, he is excited for the future of the engineering department.
“I don’t mind that I won’t ever get to use the building,” Ledford said. “But, students in the future will really benefit from the donation.”
Ledford recognizes the challenges of meeting downtown for classes, but believes the positives significantly outweigh the negatives.
“It will provide much needed lab space, an essential part of engineering education,” he said.
MVNU already houses two departments downtown: the Art and Graphic Design department and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Farley and Moore Antiques closed last July. The building is at 104 S. Main St., across the street from MVNU’s Hunter Hall and Buchwald Center.