Toomey Hall: creativity unleashed

The air in Toomey Hall nearly hums with ideas in progress. From the glass-enclosed Brewer Family Atrium — named for donors David, ME’82, and Melanie Brewer — students on three levels can been seen working intently. Wander the halls and you’ll find instructional and research laboratories throughout, housing many more students all absorbed in their work. The new complex adds more than 45,000 square feet.

Toomey Hall. (Photo by B.A. Rupert)

Completed last year, the mechanical and aerospace engineering building — named for lead donors John B., ME’49, MS ME’51, and Mary Toomey and family — is clean, spacious, airy, and filled with natural light, streamlined corridors and attractive, exposed color-coded ductwork. At 145,000 square feet (more than double the 64,400-square-foot main building), it’s a perfect setting for hatching new ideas. More than 20 percent of S&T students major in mechanical or aerospace engineering.
The three-story, circular Product Innovation and Creativity Center (PICC), located in the heart of Toomey Hall, is “where students really get creative,” says Ashok Midha, professor and chair of the department during the expansion and renovation.

“It’s a place where they can integrate all of their science and engineering knowledge base, produce something useful and develop their skills and confidence, all at the same time.”

“It’s a place where they can integrate all of their science and engineering knowledge base, produce something useful and develop their skills and confidence, all at the same time.”
Located on the PICC’s first floor, the Presentation Hub — funded by Gary W., Math’62, and Judy Havener — has three screens and plenty of seating for design presentations. The Design Studio, funded by the late Sy, ME’44, and Hattie Orlofsky, is located on the second floor. The Prototyping Loft, funded by Roger, ME’65, and Sandy Dorf, is located on the top floor.
Students needing to recharge can kick back in two commons areas with big-screen televisions and great views of the campus. There are also a number of tables available with white boards at each, perfect for brainstorming and conceptualization sessions.
William Cacheris, a senior from St. Louis, says Toomey Hall is much easier to navigate than the former MAE building. “I like the layout — everything I need is accessible. And it’s much quicker to get to my classes.”
Cacheris says his favorite laboratories in the building contain the flight simulator and the subsonic wind tunnel. “All the labs here are awesome,” he adds.

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