Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex
Backstory and Context
At the end of World War II, the U.S. Navy provided Marshall with nine frame surplus barrack type buildings located on 16th Street and 4th Ave. These barracks were utilized as student housing and as classroom space for engineering students. As part of the grant by the Navy, it was agreed that when the buildings had fulfilled their purpose and were no longer in use, they would be torn down. The West Virginia Board of Regents approved the razing of the temporary Navy Barracks September of 63. Marshall’s first Engineering Building was established between College and Fifth Avenues and 18th and 19th streets in 1960, but was soon utilized for storage when the Engineering department temporarily moved to a butcher shop on 20th Street. In 1972, the former Board of Regents called for the phasing out of the Engineering program at Marshall University, because they felt that programs at WVU and West Virginia Tech could suit the state’s engineering education needs. After this, Marshall University only offered the first two years of schooling needed to obtain an engineering degree.
It wasn’t until 2006 that Marshall University reinstated their four year engineering program. Since the university had phased out engineering nearly 30 years prior, there was a shortage of necessary equipment to suit the growing number of students enrolling in the revived program. The Arthur Weisburg Family Engineering Laboratories was the first building installed in what would become the Arthur Weisburg Engineering Complex. The Engineering Laboratories replaced a parking lot west of the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center to better accommodate the locations of classes. On Oct 29, 2012, Marshall University officials broke ground to develop the new $50 million engineering complex, the Arthur Weisburg Family Applied Engineering Complex. Located between the Arthur Weisburg Family Engineering Laboratories and the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center. Weisburg is the president of State Electric, and donated $2.5 million to the Marshall University Foundation to fund the complex in 2006.
The Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 13, 2015. Attendees honored both Arthur Weisberg and the late Stephen Kopp, former Marshall University President, for their commitment to the project. Following a meeting with Stephen Kopp, Art and Joan Weisberg agreed to donate funds that inspired other individuals and organizations to fund the creation of this $56 million facility. With an additional $25 million from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, numerous private donations, and a Marshall University bond issue, Marshall's new engineering complex opened in the fall semester of 2015.
Information about the Arthur and Joan Weisberg and State Electric Company:
Arthur Weisberg established State Electric Supply Company in 1952. The company began with humble origins, as Weisberg called on customers directly, selling and delivering equipment with the aid of a single pickup truck. Over time, Weisberg established a retail outlet and warehouse in Huntington, West Virginia. The company grew quickly and presently maintains retail outlets and staff throughout Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.
Inspired by glowing reports of West Virginia and its people from fellow soldiers, Arthur Weisberg chose to move to Huntington after serving four and a half years in the United States Army. With only $2,500 to his name and a degree in Electrical Engineering from City College in New York, Weisberg began his business. Local business owner Shug Halstead allowed Art to use his garage to store his inventory of light bulbs, extension cords, fuses, and other items. After loading some of these items into his pickup truck each day, and with the help and support of his wife Joan, Art drove to small businesses throughout the Tri-State region. The Weisberg's business grew slowly at first, but soon they were to expand the business to include a wide manner of electrical equipment for businesses and consumers.
"Joan Weisberg Audio Call" Personal audio interview with Mrs. Joan Weisberg (can be found below) "State Electric Locations" http://www.stateelectric.com/locations/listing.asp "New Engineering Building" http://www.statejournal.com/story/29725645/marshall-university-sets-aug-13-opening-for-new-engineeri...
“Buildings” Sarah Peyton, Spring 1993
“West Virginia Board of Education Standard Form for Bidding.” MU Special Collections.
Wellman, Dave. "Marshall University breaks ground for engineering complex; building will have state-of-the-art instructional, research facilities." , October 29, 2012.
Casto, James E.. Marshall Engineering Reborn. 21st Century Manufacturing Capacity. Accessed January 24, 2017. http://www.rcbi.org/index.php/viewarticle/163-capacity-magazine/fall-2008/articles/529-marshall-engineering-reborn.