Saint Martin’s launches classes in new engineering building
Jan. 31, 2013
LACEY, WASHINGTON — Saint Martin’s University engineering students
started spring semester on a high note, attending class in the
University’s innovative new “green” engineering building, Father
Richard Cebula, O.S.B. Hall.
The new three-story building in the heart of the University’s campus
has been generating excitement among Saint Martin’s engineering students
since construction began, according to Zella Kahn-Jetter, Ph.D., P.E.,
dean of The Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering. With its numerous
cutting-edge structural features, the building became the site of
educational field trips for engineering students as it was erected.
Its completion has been highly anticipated by students and faculty
“You can feel that sense of excitement: everything is new; everything
is clean; everything is high-tech – it is causing quite a buzz,”
Designed with the goal of achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design) Platinum Certification – the highest awarded –
from the U.S. Building Council, most documentation for the certification
has been submitted, explained Kahn-Jetter. She anticipates the process to
be completed in time for Cebula Hall’s official building dedication on
Earth Day, April 22, 2013.
Kahn-Jetter described the building as “one huge laboratory.”
It was built with an eye toward interactive teaching and learning,
not only for students and faculty, but for practicing engineers
and the public. Pipes, beams, parts of the geothermal heating/cooling
system and other structural elements were intentionally left exposed to
permit their study.
“We’re educating engineers, and this gives students a much
better idea than photos or diagrams of what things actually
look like in the guts of a build,” she said. Many of Cebula
Hall’s features, such as the large roof-top solar panel system,
function both for efficiency and to serve as a laboratory. A “dashboard”
inside the building lets visitors see how efficiently that system,
the air-quality system and others are operating.
The end result of learning in such a building is that the
school’s students will be able to put hands-on knowledge of
environmentally sound systems, practices and tools to work
when they graduate.
She anticipates the building also becoming a popular meeting
place with local and regional engineering professional societies.
Having more than doubled the space of the previous engineering
building, Cebula Hall will enable the University to increase the
number of qualified engineering students it accepts, Kahn-Jetter
said. The University’s respected 65-year-old engineering program
offers undergraduate degrees in civil engineering and mechanical
engineering and graduate degrees in civil engineering, engineering
management, and as of September, mechanical engineering. Some 216
engineering students were enrolled fall semester. Of all the
first-year students Saint Martin's welcomed to campus this fall,
19 percent planned to major in engineering.
Kahn-Jetter said most program graduates find employment here in
Washington state, which ranks second among the top 10 technology
states in the number of engineers it hires.
“The job outlook for engineering in our area is quite good,” she
said. “The market is doing well, and slowly improving.”
Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year,
coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300
acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic
Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine
colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the
only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University
prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and
seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business,
education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more
than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from
many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300
more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint
Martin’s University website at
For additional information:
Zella Kahn-Jetter, Ph.D., P.E.
Dean, The Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering
Saint Martin’s University
Director of event services
Saint Martin’s University