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Major Zollner Center project will create innovative new home for STEM programs

March 25, 2021 Artist renderings of new Zollner Engineering Center

University investing $21.5 million in major project to expand and renovate Zollner Engineering Center to house new and existing programs in engineering, computer sciences, cybersecurity, life sciences and technology

Indiana Tech is undertaking a major expansion and renovation of the Zollner Engineering Center on its main campus in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The university will invest $21.5 million in the project, which will nearly double the current size of the facility and result in an all-new home for Indiana Tech’s growing programs in engineering, computer sciences, cybersecurity, life sciences, technology and more.

Construction will begin in May 2021, with a public groundbreaking event scheduled for 1:00pm May 14 near the current main entrance to the Zollner Center. The first phase of the project will include the construction of a 30,000 square foot addition to the east side of the current facility. The addition will be completed by August 2022. The next phases of the project will begin in May 2022 and include a complete renovation of the existing Zollner Center space, resulting in an all-new, 70,000 square foot, three-floor facility that will be complete in the fall of 2023.

The new Zollner Engineering Center will provide a home for Indiana Tech’s current, growing programs in engineering, computer sciences and life sciences. It also provides new space for the introduction and growth of new programs that are part of the university’s strategic plan, including an array of engineering technology programs, and those in areas such as computer science, robotics, and life science.

“Programs centered on science, technology, engineering and mathematics have long been a core strength of our university,” commented Indiana Tech president Karl Einolf. “We continue to see growth in these areas, and an ever-increasing demand for our talented and capable graduates in engineering, computer science, cybersecurity and more among regional and national employers. The new Zollner Center will provide our faculty and students with cutting-edge new learning spaces, labs, equipment and so much more. It will also enable us to expand our collaborations with corporate partners, and create new programs that can be delivered effectively both in-person and online.”

Key elements of the new facility will include:

  • 28 specialized laboratory and collaboration spaces across three levels, including:
    • Ground level:
      • Manufacturing/Automation Lab
      • Materials/Solid Mechanics Lab
      • Biomedical Engineering Lab
      • Exercise Science Lab
      • Thermal Sciences Lab
      • Robotics Design Lab
      • Engineering Innovation Design Center
      • Engineering Design Workshop
    • First floor:
      • Digital Forensics Lab
      • Computer Science Lab
      • Computer Science Projects Lab
      • Software Engineering Lab
      • Power Controls Lab
      • Life Sciences Lab
      • Network Operations Center
      • Cybersecurity Operations Center
      • Data Center supporting computer science programs
      • 3-D Design Lab
      • Physics Lab
    • Second Floor
      • Projects Lab
      • Circuits Lab – Electrical and Computer Engineering
      • Analytical/Organic Chemistry Lab
      • PLC Lab – Electrical Engineering
      • Chemistry Lab
      • CAD and Engineering Lab
      • Information Systems Lab
      • Cell and Molecular Biology Lab
      • Forensics and Microbiology Lab
  • Central computer lab with 24/7/365 access for students and faculty
  • 37 faculty offices
  • Project learning and collaborative study spaces
  • Future growth space for new programs in health science fields, computer sciences, information technology

As part of the project, Indiana Tech will also renovate and expand the central quad area on its campus. The Zollner Engineering Center is located at what is currently the southeast corner of the quad. As part of this project, the quad will expand to the east, adding green space to central campus. Walkways on the existing quad will be reconfigured, and seating areas will be incorporated throughout. The quad renovation will further enhance the beauty of central campus, and encourage wider use of the green space there.

Classrooms and labs in the Zollner Engineering Center will remain open throughout the project. Once the building expansion is completed in August 2022, classrooms and labs will move into the new space while renovation of the existing space takes place from May 2022 to September 2023. The fully expanded and renovated center will open in the fall of 2023.

The Zollner Engineering Center was built in 1958, with the current facility’s west wing opening as the Charles A. Dana Science Building in June of that year. The building was renovated and expanded to the east, into its current configuration, in 2002.

Key project planning and construction partners include CMA Plus Construction Management, Elevatus Architecture, Michael Kinder and Sons, Engineering Resources, Inc., Primary Engineering, Perkins + Will, Almet Inc., O’Neal Excavating, Innovative Control Systems, Votaw Electric, Shambaugh, A. Hattersley & Sons, and C.L. Schust.