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October 17, 2017

Groundbreaking ceremony for Jun and Sandra Lee Wisconsin Structures and Materials Testing Laboratory

Written By: Silke Schmidt

On Sept. 18, 2017, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Jun and Sandra Lee Wisconsin Structures and Materials Testing Laboratory. The new facility will allow structural engineering faculty, students, collaborators and industry partners to forge new ground in full-scale testing and evaluating structural elements and building materials.

Construction on buildings
Ongoing construction of the new Jun and Sandra Lee Wisconsin Structures and Materials Testing Laboratory next to Engineering Hall. Photo by Renee Meiller.

The 2,500 square foot addition to the laboratory will include a high-strength floor and multi-story post-tensioned reaction wall with grid high-strength anchors, an overhead crane, and access to the exterior, making it possible to test structural components up to 40 feet long.

The addition was possible through a $1 million lead donation from Jun (BSCE ’68, MSCE ’69, PhDCE ’73) and Sandy Lee (BA ’69) and many other contributions from the department’s friends and alumni.

“The new lab will enable our students to enhance their classroom learning by actually testing the components they have built,” said Ian Robertson, Grainger Dean of the College of Engineering, at the ceremony. “This hands-on experience is invaluable to their education and among my own top priorities for their time at UW-Madison.”

The lab continues to expand the structural engineering program within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. It centers around recently hired junior and senior faculty members, including Assistant Professors Brock Hedegaard and Pavana Prabhakar, and C.K. Wang Professor Gustavo Parra-Montesinos, who came to UW-Madison after more than a decade at the University of Michigan. Along with Associate Professor Jose Pincheira, who co-authored the seventh edition of the seminal textbook Reinforced Concrete Design with pioneers C.K. Wang and Charles Salmon, this core of structural engineering faculty continues a century-long legacy that includes such giants as Alain Peyrot, C.K. Wang, Charles Salmon, Frederick Turneaure, Edward Maurer, Owen Withey, Kurt Wendt, George Washa, John Johnson, and Bill Saul.

“The new structures lab will allow us to take full advantage of our expertise in experimental structural research,” said Parra-Montesinos at the groundbreaking ceremony. “It will help attract top faculty and students to our program so that we can continue to revolutionize structural engineering education and research.”