On the campus of the University of Alabama, the South Engineering Research Center is the first building dedicated solely to the College of Engineering since H.M. Comer Hall was completed in 1960. The SERC, as it is abbreviated, sits across the new Science and Engineering Quad from Shelby Hall and the Science and Engineering Complex, as part of UA’s suite of research hubs designed to encourage collaboration across scientific disciplines.
The four-story building has 196,815 square feet. There are seven large multimedia classrooms that include two with 40 seats, three with 50 seats and two lecture halls seating 90 people. There are more than 40 research and instructional labs including nine flexible-use instructional labs that can seat 36 students each. There is office space for 38 faculty and staff members and about 145 graduate students along with numerous meeting and conference rooms. Five of the College’s departments have office space in SERC, and faculty from the entire College use the classroom and instructional labs.
Unique features include a structures laboratory with a 17x17 AISC rated earthquake 'Shake Table'. The table consist of a 32 inch suspended concrete slab weighing over 1,000,000 pounds in order to prevent other vibrations during data collection. Additionally, the concrete on the slab was finished to tolerances withing 1/1,000th of an inch and received a world record rating of flatness and most level suspended slab. Additionally, the laboratory includes a 10-feet-by-10 feet-by-10-foot soil pit to test structures on the ground, a 15-ton overhead crane trolley, a large suite of hydraulic actuators for testing force and reconfigurable reaction blocks that tie into the million-pound strong floor for the actuators to react against. Mercedes Assembly Plant uses the Dynometer to test fuel consumption of its new engines.
Owner: University of Alabama
Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Architect: Davis Architects
Size: 196,815 sq ft