ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility
The University of Oklahoma and its College of Engineering are building a world-class, one-of-a-kind ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility (EPF) where current engineering students will benefit from a real-world interdisciplinary experience; and kindergarten through 12th-grade students can be inspired to become tomorrow's engineers and scientists.
The two-story, 41,000-square-foot ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility will include 10,000 square feet that students can use to design and build engineering projects and senior capstone projects. Tens of thousands of people will look in on many varied and interesting projects, including students and teens from kindergarten through 12th grade. This will help inspire today's young people to become tomorrow's engineers and provide a pipeline of future engineers for industry.
Whether in oil and gas, automotive or the high-tech sector, U.S. corporations are facing an engineer shortage. In 1975, the United States ranked third per capita after Japan and Finland in the number of undergraduate engineers and natural scientists it produces. Today, the U.S. has fallen to 17th in the world. American industry is clamoring for better hands-on-trained engineers.
In order to stay nationally and globally competitive, our state must strengthen our youths' interest in science and math. We must step up our efforts to recruit, retain and graduate new generations of engineers and to inspire bright Oklahoma elementary through high school students to consider engineering, science and math as viable career paths.
Currently, the College of Engineering is working with students from kindergarten through 12th grade and their teachers to strengthen our youths' interest in math and science and to inspire bright Oklahoma elementary through high school students to consider engineering, science and math as viable career paths.
The ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility will be home to all the College's nationally recognized K-20 (kindergarten through undergraduate college-aged students) Engineering Education Programs. It will serve as a teaching/work environment for the College's educational initiatives to recruit more young people to study math and science.
The K-12 outreach efforts within the College of Engineering in partnership with the College of Education run the continuum from pre-kindergarten to high school and have been supported through many gifts over the years equaling more than $15 million.
These programs include: Adventure Engineering, the Authentic Teaching Alliance and the Sooner Elementary Engineering and Science (SeeS) Clubs. The programs are elementary school outreach efforts where college students join PreK-5th grade students in an after-school, informal education program where they allow children to do hands-on, minds-on experiments that teach various science and engineering concepts and applications.
In addition, the College of Engineering is one of the few universities in the country to have received National Science Foundation funding for two Graduate K-12 program grants, joining Arizona State University, Tufts University, University of California at Berkley, the University of Colorado and Colorado School of Mines.
This program partners graduate students, advanced undergraduate students, and teachers within local school districts to help teach secondary students science and mathematics concepts. The College of Engineering is in the process of seeking funding for summer academies that bring 4th through 12th grade students to campus to spend summer time learning of the excitement of engineering. The Engineering Practice Facility will enable these potential engineers of tomorrow to learn in an exceptional environment.
About the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility
General Information$10 Million Education & Practice Facility
Approximately 41,000 gross square feet The ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility will be a support building for OU Engineering students. Student groups have currently spread across the Norman campus, including south and north campus, in order to find space for their projects. With the completion of the Engineering Practice Facility, many of the student groups will be able to work on their projects here using hands-on design activities. The Practice Facility will bring together all of the disciplines of OU Engineering Students into one centralized location. Additionally K-12 student groups will be able to visit this exciting facility and see what engineering is all about.
There are five practice bays located on the first floor of the Practice Facility. Four of these bays are high-bay works spaces open to the second floor; the fifth bay is one story, closed space separated from the rest of the facility by glass walls. The open bays have a hoist feature above them allowing for movement or display of large, heavy projects. The closed bay provides a work space for those projects that generate more dust and dirt, such as the concrete canoe. Each of the bays has large, bi-fold hangar doors opening to a green space facing Jenkins. Projects can be rolled out and displayed on nice days. Students will be able to take advantage of good weather and have a larger open space to work in.
The Information Commons is another example of multi-purpose use of space. OU Engineering Students will have access to state of the art computer equipment and software in the open computer lab. Cad Plotters and design specifications will be at their fingertips as they work on their design/build projects for state and national competitions. In addition to equipment, OU Information Technology will staff this space with technicians that will provide immediate assistance with computer questions and equipment updates. This space is another example of the College of Engineering commitment to providing our students with the most up to date technology available.
The Student Leadership Center will be a support space located on the second floor. At its core, this space strives to support OU Engineering, through serving its students. Project rooms have been included for the use of student groups. Open meeting areas will provide space for impromptu gatherings between students. Additionally, resume help, career planning and tutoring services will be a part of this space. The key to this center is that many functions are in one centralized location allowing more students to take advantage of all that is being offered.
This space will give our undergraduate students a location for hands on application for smaller projects. Electrical, Computers Science, Industrial and Computer Engineering students will be able to demonstrate concepts they discuss in the classroom, and apply these concepts to hands-on applications. Students will work on circuit boards, and build and test their own systems.
Collaborative space is a very important feature of the Practice Facility. Team rooms have been included on floors one and two. These rooms will be available on a twenty-four hour basis for students. Additional collaboration space can be found in the second floor gallery. This space overlooks the open practice bays on the first floor. Students will be able to view the projects and work going on downstairs without interfering. Small groupings of furniture are located along the perimeter creating gathering spaces for unplanned meetings between students and colleagues.