The Richard A. Rula Engineering and Science Complex is now open and conducting classes on Mississippi State University's campus.
Located next to the Longest Student Health Center, Rula offers state-of-the-art lecture halls, laboratories and study rooms to help prepare chemical, civil and environmental engineering students for the workforce.
The $34 million building was primarily constructed for civil and environmental engineering majors, but it also offers multipurpose areas for other students to use. Approximately 40 sections of lectures and labs are being held in the building this semester, and more sections are being planned for the spring semester.
Faculty members said they are excited about the educational advancements the new building offers. Sandra Ortega-Achury, a research associate who teaches in Rula, said the building was full of possibilities.
"We do a lot of lab demonstrations that simulate actual things that happen," Ortega-Achury said. "We recreate the techniques that are actually used so the students can get hands-on experience."
Ortega-Achury emphasized the necessity of the new engineering building.
"We need this space," Ortega-Achury said. "We have so many students, and we were really packed in Walker Engineering, and even now, we need to open more sections in this building so we can have smaller sections to better focus on students."
MSU faculty are not the only people excited about the new building. Holly Harrison, a freshman chemical engineering major from Hazlehurst, Mississippi, said she enjoys having her chemistry lab in Rula.
"The lab is very easily navigable," Harrison said. "If you're looking for something, like a beaker, it's right there. You don't have to hunt through drawers and cabinets; it's all very open."
Harrison mentioned the added technological developments Rula offers in comparison to older buildings on campus.
Like Ortega-Achury, Harrison also spoke of the need for a new building.
"The old buildings don't have the technology needed for advanced studies, and it gives people a fresh, new place to go and feel like everything is up-to-date," Harrison said.
Harrison continued, saying that Rula is one of the nicest buildings on campus.
"I think the building's interior is very nice," Harrison said. "I really like the layout, it has nice study areas and it feels like a very open space. It feels modern."
Building manager and lab coordinator Joe Ivy does not instruct inside the Rula building, but he said is thrilled to be working there. Ivy explained that students, faculty and staff are still adjusting to Rula and learning where everything is located.
Additionally, Ivy spoke about the impressive number of labs that are housed in Rula. The building boasts eight laboratories, each offering a different subspecialty for engineering students.
Echoing Harrison's thoughts, Ivy also spoke about the differences Rula has compared to other buildings on campus.
"Everything is better laid out, and there's more room. It's just a better environment. Things look great here," Ivy said.