MSU breaks ground on Richard A. Rula Engineering and Science Complex

Mississippi State leaders and supporters breaking ground on the Richard A. Rula Engineering and Science Complex include, from left, MSU Bagley College of Engineering Dean Jason Keith; Ergon Asphalt Group President J. Baxter Burns II; President of Hemphill Construction Company and lead project benefactor Richard A. Rula; MSU President Mark E. Keenum; MSU Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Randy Follett; JKC Holdings Inc. President and CEO and project benefactor Rodger Johnson; and MSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Head Dennis Truax. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: James Carskadon

The $34 million Richard A. Rula Engineering and Science Complex will house the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and provide classrooms and offices; teaching, research and chemistry labs; and high bay areas. (Submitted photo)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Construction on the Richard A. Rula Engineering and Science Complex at Mississippi State University is officially underway after today’s [Dec. 7] groundbreaking ceremony on the MSU campus.

The new project will provide state-of-the-art facilities for MSU’s James Worth Bagley College of Engineering, continuing the university’s historic strength in this field. The 70,000-square-foot facility will house the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and provide classrooms and offices; teaching, research and chemistry labs; and high bay areas.

During the ceremony, MSU President Mark E. Keenum thanked the many donors who have made substantial contributions toward the new building. The MSU Foundation has raised approximately $14 million in private funds in support of the project, Keenum noted.

“We are reaping the benefits of the generosity of so many that are making this great university even greater,” Keenum said. “That’s what we’re celebrating today. We’re celebrating the groundbreaking, the construction of this beautiful facility, which is truly something for us to be very thankful for as a university.”

The $34 million building is named after MSU 2019 National Alumnus of the Year Richard A. Rula, an education advocate and leader in the construction industry. Rula is the owner of Hemphill Construction Company and also serves on the Bagley College of Engineering Advisory Board, MSU Foundation Board and the Bulldog Club Board. In addition to his service and leadership, he has made significant gifts to the university totaling more than $9.8 million, including the lead gift of $8 million for the Engineering and Science Complex.

“A project of this magnitude is the product of profound faith and unshakable resolve. To all of the many contributors, I say, ‘thank you,’” Rula said. “Now we, our children, their children and generations after will all benefit from this beautiful facility that will provide a quality education for our students.” 

Jackson-based Eley Guild Hardy Architects is the design professional for the building, while Columbus-based West Brothers Construction is the general contractor. The dedicated research and teaching labs will support the department’s technical strengths in the areas of construction, environmental, geotechnical, materials, structural, transportation and water resources engineering, along with space to support the chemistry instructional needs of the university.

“The collective vision for this project was to develop a building that looked like it has been part of our beautiful campus for decades, but when you went inside, you found the most modern academic engineering building in the State of Mississippi,” said Bagley College of Engineering Dean Jason Keith. “I am pleased to tell you that we have achieved that vision.”

The research area in the new structure will help faculty continue to stay on the leading edge of new technologies and support economic development in Mississippi, while training future leaders in key fields. MSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering graduates professionals who help create and maintain the systems that raise the standard of living, such as clean water, safe roads, proper sanitation and quality buildings. For more on the department, visit www.cee.msstate.edu.

For more on MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering, visit www.bagley.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Friday, December 7, 2018 - 12:49 pm