UNLV’s Advanced Engineering Building makes historic strides

Artistic rendition of the new Advanced Engineering Building set to open in 2024. Graphic by Madison Faries.

Over the past 10 years, the UNLV College of Engineering has seen a 66 percent increase in student enrollment.

With the growth of more than 2,000 students in nine departments, the college of engineering has been unable to accommodate physically for the influx of students. In spring 2021, the issue of inadequate space was addressed with the approval of the other half from the Nevada State Legislature

Dating back to 1957, the history of engineering at UNLV originally started out with Herb Wells, after officially joining faculty back in 1961, Wells was one of the eight faculty members teaching all of the university’s science, math, and engineering courses. 

Hughes was the only engineer among the eight. 

With Wells imprint on the school, much of his work is still seen today through his efforts to expand the engineering library collection and add engineering classes to UNLV’s catalog. 

Today, the College of Engineering serves as a glimpse into Nevada’s future of educating the engineers of tomorrow and propelling a robust tech-driven diversified economy. The college’s current advancements in research, innovation, and the implementation of the Advanced Engineering Building is expected to close the gap between UNLV and other comparable engineering colleges across the country. 

$9.4 million of the funding is coming from private support and the State Legislature’s matched UNLV’s contributions of $36.8 million, which was the other half of the funds that remained. The new three-story Advanced Engineering Building will be a 52,000 square foot building that is set to be finished in 2024

According to UNLV’s Planning and Construction Projects Gallery, the new three story building will include a state-of-the-art exterior, an auditorium that allows engineering enrollment to increase from 3,000 to 5,000 students. A Maker Space that will feature research labs for students & faculty, alongside workspaces that are designed to foster collaboration and activity. 

“The engineering building is super important for everyone involved,” said Joshua Padilla, fourth year engineering student and former UNLV CSUN student body president. “UNLV has one of the fastest growing engineering programs in the state so it’s important that the state provides necessary resources to foster that program for future innovation in the Southern Nevada community.” 

Looking ahead, the College of Engineering has debuted a number of accomplishments that have propelled student success and innovation at the college level and are expected to continue. 

Some notable accomplishments include the one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program in entertainment engineering and design. Recent collaborations with the Lee Business school on senior design projects, and STEM advancements ranging from new engineering fellowships to grant activities. 

The College of Engineering’s vision for the future resonates with the school’s historical namesake, Howard R. Hughes. Hughes owned an airport, a television station, a ranch, several hotel-casinos, and a great deal of valuable land. 

Hughes committed his life to innovation and discovery resulting in his legacy living on today at the heart of the college of engineering’s faculty and student population. In 1984 eight years after his death, the Hughes’ Summa Corporation made a donation to UNLV’s engineering program, which resulted in the college taking Hughes’ name.

The Advanced Engineering Building set to debut in 2024 will enable students to achieve excellence in engineering and beyond. 


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