Contact: James Carskadon
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University is celebrating the completion of the state-of-the-art new home for the Richard A. Rula School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
University leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday [Oct. 27] to mark the official opening of the $34 million, 70,000-square-foot Rula Engineering and Science Complex in the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. Located at the corner of Hardy and Morrill Road, the facility contains classrooms, offices, research and chemistry labs, and high bay areas. The research portion of the new structure will help faculty stay on the leading edge of new technologies and support economic development in Mississippi, while training future engineering leaders in key fields to provide clean water, safe roads, proper sanitation and quality buildings.
“This is a wonderful milestone occasion in the history of this university,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said. “This building also stands as a reminder of what we are able to accomplish by working together—raising private money, getting support from the state, getting the support from the university together to turn an idea into reality.”
The building and academic school are named after MSU 2019 National Alumnus of the Year Richard A. Rula of Ridgeland, 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, including the lead gift for the Engineering and Science Complex. In 2020, the 1970 MSU civil engineering graduate provided the university with a cornerstone endowment gift for the Rula School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
“I had a tremendous experience learning from professors and joining fellow students in learning how to design and build,” said Rula, who received an honorary Doctor of Public Service from MSU in April. “So when I had the opportunity to participate in helping build this brand new engineering facility with all the latest technology, collaborative spaces and advances, it was just a dream come true for me.”
The MSU Foundation has raised approximately $14 million in support of the new facility, including gifts of $25,000 or more from 45 different donors. Four $1 million contributions to the project have been provided by Rodger and Jill Johnson of Atlanta, Georgia, Tommy and Terri Nusz of Houston, Texas, Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. of Brandon, and Ergon in Jackson.
In the Bagley College, the Richard A. Rula School of Civil and Environmental Engineering is among eight primary academic areas. The unit enrolls some 570 undergraduate and 90 graduate students. Degree programs include a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, all with seven technical options.
“The collective vision for this project was to develop a building that looked like it had been a part of our beautiful campus for decades, but when you came inside, you saw the most modern academic engineering building in the state of Mississippi,” said Bagley College of Engineering Dean Jason Keith. “I’m pleased to tell you that we have accomplished that vision.”
Jackson-based Eley Guild Hardy Architects was the design professional for the building, while Columbus-based West Brothers Construction was the general contractor. The dedicated research and teaching labs will support the school’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.
For more on the Bagley College of Engineering, visit www.bagley.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.