The addition of the Haworth Engineering Center at Hope College will provide new purpose-built space for one of the college’s most in-demand majors.

The 9,000-square-foot addition to the northwest corner of VanderWerf Hall is being named in honor of a lead gift from Haworth Inc and the Haworth family.  Site preparation is scheduled to begin Monday, Sept. 17, with work beginning in earnest a week later.  A ceremony celebrating the start of the project will take place on Friday, Oct. 12, at 12:30 p.m. in conjunction with the college’s Homecoming Weekend.

Supported by many donors through the college’s “A Greater Hope” comprehensive campaign, the project is being completed for a total cost of $3.75 million, including an endowment for ongoing maintenance.  It is scheduled to be ready in time for the start of classes in the fall of 2013.

Architectural design for the Haworth Engineering Center is by FTC&H of Grand Rapids.  Construction manager is G.O. Construction, a joint venture of GDK Construction Co. of Holland and Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. of Grand Rapids.

“Engineering has experienced tremendous growth since the college began offering the major in 1997,” said Dr. John Krupczak, who is a professor of engineering and chairperson of the department.  “It’s consistently one of the top choices indicated by prospective students as they consider Hope, and each semester our courses enroll at least 170 students.”

“The new wing is going to meet a critical demand for additional space, but more importantly it’s going to provide outstanding space,” he said.  “Our program emphasizes hands-on learning through coursework and research, and the Haworth Engineering Center will support that exceptionally well.”

The Haworth Engineering Center will span three levels, and will integrate existing space as well as the new construction.

The ground floor will provide additional space for research and equipment, helping the department expand the opportunities that it provides for students through collaborative faculty-student research and make the most of existing resources.  For example, the program has an industrial-quality wind tunnel—built several years ago by students—that is currently in another building.

The first floor will house space especially for all types of engineering-student design projects as well as projects sponsored by industry on which students in the department work collaboratively.  Currently, students have been spread out across the building and even in other buildings.

The top floor will allow the department to double the size of its heavily used computer-aided design lab, from 20 to 40 seats, and will include new introductory-laboratory space as well as faculty offices.

The college’s engineering program grew out of the department of physics, which began offering courses in engineering in 1979, although engineering instruction at Hope goes back at least three decades more, with the department of mathematics offering “Mechanical Drawing”/”Engineering Drawing” for several years beginning in the 1940s.  Engineering became a stand-alone department in 2006, and now has seven full-time and three part-time faculty.  Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the college’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering can include emphasis in biochemical, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental or mechanical engineering.

VanderWerf Hall opened as “Physics Mathematics Hall” in 1964 and was extensively renovated in 1989 and 2011.  Renamed for Hope’s eighth president, Dr. Calvin A. VanderWerf, in 1981, the building houses the departments of computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics.  It is located on 10th Street between Central and College avenues.