Deconstructing (and Revitalizing) the ECE Dept.

There’s change (and dust) in the air at the ECE building these days. A lot of these changes are due to construction, but some of them are much more subtle. And that’s where ECE’s new marketing director, Sarah Lynas, comes in.

Lynas was a student at the Communication and Journalism Department who was recently hired by chair Jane Lehr after she presented a campaign to enhance the image of ECE as part of a class project.

Tired, old display cases and worn-out chairs have been sent to salvage and the walls are being patched and prepped for a long-overdue new coat of paint.

“The goal of the new campaign is to increase enrollment and revitalize the department’s image,” said Lynas, “as well as to really showcase who engineers are at ECE and what they’re doing.”

Lynas is a senior studying strategic communication and applied math. She hopes to help create a new, cohesive image for the department.

Lynas has discovered that our ECE students are doing a lot more than just hitting the books. ECE students write poetry, snowboard, and so much more, she is eager to showcase these talents. On Thursday, May 27, the first poster from the new campaign went up in the ECE foyer. The new poster showcases the work of graduate student, Gangadharan Esakki.

She is also hard at work on a poster that features the talent of our resident snowboarder, Grant Heileman.

Other changes at ECE are happening to the building itself. The department is determined to make the building a more comfortable and efficient place to work and study.

High efficiency LEDs have taken the place of fluorescent tubes in dark stairwells.

“They are Lithonia’s premier fixtures,” said electrician Ryan Ralson.

Each fixture costs about $120 and he has installed 100 of them in the building. The renovations are being paid for by UNM.

“The new lighting should pay for themselves in energy savings fairly quickly,” said Ralston.

Classrooms and offices light up after a person passes through a doorway making old-fashioned light switches a thing of the past. The new switches are wireless.

Contractors are tearing out old ductwork and replacing them with new and shiny, digitally controlled air handlers that will improve the building’s heating and cooling.

According to David Modisette, the building manager and part-time ECE instructor, changing out the building’s “air flow routing” is a work in progress and it will take some time before the work is completed.

“I think the construction workers are doing as well as possible, given that the building is occupied,” said Modisette, “When this is completed there will be significant energy savings and people will have better control over their work space temperature and lighting. The new vents will also eliminate the loud banging caused by the old baffle actuators.”

Modisette’s third floor office is a chilly 66 degrees while the temperature in the first floor offices is so hot that many of the staff have set up temporary fans that were leftover from a previous building crisis.

“That’s because the HAC guys are installing the ductwork,” said Ralston. “After that’s done, we’ll install the electrical power that the control guys will use for the systems that control the air conditioning. And then UNM will be able to control the building remotely.”

Modisette and Ralston said all these changes to the building will be completed at the end of July.

                                                             —story by Charles Reuben