Written by: Mathew Messa/ Staff Writerf
Engineering students can expect major changes as administrators and the Student Government Government Council at the Modesto Maidique Campus are planning on refreshing the Engineering Center’s interior to match the vibrancy of the main campus as part of a new “pantherization” initiative.
“[Engineering] is one of the University’s signature programs. A lot of research happens here, and our students are amazing, so we wanted them to feel to feel like they are an important part of the University,” said Pablo Ortiz, Vice President of Regional Academic Locations.
Ortiz has overseen some of the recent renovations to the engineering center, and his office is responsible for the University’s satellite locations, including the Biscayne Bay Campus and Brickell.
The University orginially purchased the building that houses the Engineering Center Cordis Corporation, an electronics company in 1996, and many areas of the building remain unrenovated.
The lobby area of the building was renovated six months ago with features like new navigational signage, flooring, paint and graphics for the walls, according to Ortiz.
Possible caption for pic: The new wall graphics picture students actively researching and graduating juxtaposed with the University’s signature blue and gold colors.
Based on student recommendations, a monitor was also installed near the main entrance where students can view the CATS shuttle arrivals and departures in real time.
Large directories will be placed at the intersections of each floor and in the stairwells of the building in the coming months to make navigation easier, according to Ortiz..
“Regardless of where the students are actually studying, they’re our students. FIU is not just the Modesto Maidique Campus. FIU is the Engineering Center, FIU is the Biscayne Bay Campus, FIU is I-75 and Miramar,” said Ortiz. “The students that are attending our classes, regardless of where they are, should have the same quality and experience.”
Ortiz ran into SGC-MMC President Sabrina Rosell during her tour of EC, as part of her own initiative to freshen up the campus, and since their meeting on March 6, the two have joined their efforts.
Rosell said that she wants EC students to enjoy the same atmosphere that they would feel walking through the halls of the Graham Center at MMC.
SGC-MMC plans to add more microwaves to the dining area, implement phone charging stations, and add unique FIU graphics to many of the walls and windows of the campus as part of their “pantherization” initiative.
The microwaves for the dining area have already been purchased and are simply awaiting clearance for painting, according to Rosell. Whereas, the charging stations needed at EC are currently being identified by Rosell’s team to know what to purchase.
Rosell is working with the University’s Campus Life Services to design unique graphics for the windows at the Engineering Center.
Willys Chirino, Engineering Center Council president, said that the charging stations are much needed. He has seen students struggle to find outlets to charge their phones in the area known as the “panther pit.”
“Right now, there’s a table there that has two outlets, and there are around 10 people sitting there sharing the outlets,” Chirino said.
Rosell also plans to replace the bulletin boards around the building with TVs that will display upcoming events like those hosted by student organizations, similar to the TVs around GC at MMC.
Both the microwaves and the charging stations were a part of previous plans for renovation that were set up about a year ago but had since fallen by the wayside, according to Chirino, but the “pantherization” initiative has brought them to the forefront once again.
Students who attend classes at the Engineering Center are pleased to hear that the SGA and administrators have them in mind.
“I’m glad we’re in their mindset, because it does feel like we’re very separated from the main campus,” Olivia Loguericio, a junior Civil Engineering major said to Student Media. “One thing I like is that the Student Programming Council has been incorporating us by hosting events here”
Stephany Millan, a junior majoring in Civil Engineering thinks the initiative would help change how her and other students feel about the Engineering Center.
“I think it’s great, considering that I’ve heard a lot of students comment on how the Engineering Center doesn’t get as much attention as the main campus, so I definitely think it will improve how people feel about Engineering Center,” said Millan.