UT Tyler south building of Bill Ratliff Engineering, Sciences Complex opens
From Staff Reports

Aug. 13, 2006 -- The University of Texas at Tyler will enhance its engineering and chemistry programs with the opening of the Bill Ratliff Engineering and Sciences Complex this fall, Gregg Lassen, vice president of business affairs, announced.

The $34 million complex, which is located on the northwest side of campus, is named for the former Texas Lieutenant Governor and State Senator from Mount Pleasant who represented Hopkins County for many years.

The facility will provide 158,000 square feet of additional space, as well as high-technology labs and equipment.

The South Building of the Ratliff Complex houses the civil engineering (Ratliff is an engineer by trade0 and chemistry departments and features a multimedia lecture hall, five civil engineering labs, organic and inorganic chemistry labs, faculty research labs and the Bill Ratliff Library Suite, which features an open terrace overlooking the campus and surrounding area.

The North Building of the Ratliff Complex is still under construction and is expected to open in 2008.

With seating for 182 students, the multimedia lecture hall has audiovisual capabilities and is equipped with data and power connections at each seat.

The new civil engineering facilities will include a civil engineering materials lab where students will test steel, concrete and asphalt materials; soil mechanics lab to examine soil characteristics and the strengths of soils, which control how foundations and roadways are designed; environmental and hydrology lab where students will look at surface water flow and collection; structural engineering lab to observe how building components behave and interact with each other; and measurements and mapping lab where students will learn the principles of computer based data acquisition and how to measure engineering quantities like force, strain and vibration.

 “With these state-of-the-art, well-equipped facilities, students will be more likely to choose UT Tyler’s program over others,” said James Nelson, chair and professor of civil engineering. “And with the number of labs we have and how they are integrated into the academic program, students will receive a solid, broad-based education where they will have the opportunity to study not only the theory in the classroom, but also the application of that theory in the labs.”

In the chemistry department, the organic chemistry lab is equipped with 22 fume hoods and the general chemistry and analytical labs are each equipped with 32 mini hoods.

“These hoods are a new feature that give each student individual hoods to remove noxious vapors and fumes during experiments,” said Don McClaugherty, chair and professor of chemistry. “In addition to the classroom labs, five chemical research labs, a theoretical research lab and a biochemical cold room are available for faculty and students to conduct cutting-edge research.”

Also housed in the South Building are two new state-of-the-art chemistry instruments totaling $435,000. A 400-megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer and a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer will provide expanded learning opportunities and research capabilities in chemistry.

 “The ultra modern Ratliff Engineering and Science Complex provides UT Tyler with the facilities needed to offer a top-quality chemistry program,” said McClaugherty.

The Bill Ratliff Suite will house a display of his official papers and memorabilia, as well as provide meeting space for those conducting research on his distinguished career. A conference room and 2,000 square foot terrace is adjacent to the suite. 

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