CEE Modernization Plan

For all the latest news on Phase II (expansion and renovation of the Hydrosystems Laboratory), visit the new Modernization website at https://modernize.cee.illinois.edu.

The Modernization website contains floorplans with information about named spaces, archive photos from throughout CEE's long history, opportunities to share your memories or request a meeting with the department head, and news updates and donor stories. Gifts may also be made – in support of specific rooms or the project as a whole – directly from the site.

In order to keep up with a growing student body and modern instructional methods needed to meet the demands of the field, the nearly 50-year old facilities that make up the CEE at Illinois complex need to be upgraded and expanded. Our commitment to hands-on instruction and cross-disciplinary learning for our students is driving the need for state-of-the-art labs and classrooms. The four-phase CEE Modernization Plan began with the construction of the Yeh Student Center and will end with an expansion and renovation of Newmark Lab.

Phase I (complete):

The M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Student Center opened in 2011, completing the first part of this multi-phase modernization project. The Yeh Center provided much-need modern classrooms, meeting rooms, and gathering and study spaces for students.

Phase II (underway):

Visit our Modernization website for all the latest information on Phase II.

The department is beginning work on Phase II of the project: an expansion and renovation of the Hydrosystems Laboratory. Plans include the addition of hands-on instructional laboratories, collaborative and classroom space for all CEE students, an elevator to bring the building into ADA compliance and a smart bridge connecting the Hydro Lab to Newmark Lab.

The CEE Smart Bridge is an exciting part of the project plans, and will be designed to serve as:

  • A living laboratory featuring the latest innovations in infrastructure sensing
  • A showcase for sustainable energy and environmental design options
  • An instructional tool to teach students about the effects of dynamic forces on the built infrastructure
  • A unifying element for faculty and students from all the department's areas of study
  • A new campus landmark

Phases III and IV (planned):

The final phases of the project will consist of an expansion and renovation of Newmark Lab (projected completion 2024). This project will feature laboratory renovations, an auditorium, an expansive lobby and a modernized exterior.

Ways to Contribute

As the modernization plan progresses, there will be many ways for alumni and friends of the department to make a contribution:

  • naming opportunities for classrooms, labs, student spaces and meeting rooms 
  • in-kind donations of equipment, materials or other assets 
  • company gift-matching 
  • ideas and input

All contributors to the project will be recognized on a donor wall.

Why do people give?

There are a variety of reasons people contribute to the modernization plan: fond memories of their time as a student, recognition of the impact their education had on their lives, honoring a favorite professor, or a desire to carry on the tradition of excellence embodied in CEE at Illinois. Below are stories from six donors to the modernization project, explaining their motivation.

Carrie Desmond
(BS 12)


Rory Polera
(BS 09)

David A. Tayabji
(BS 05)


David Byrd
(BS 01, MS 06)

Contact Us

Steven A. Hall
Director of Advancement
2231 Siebel Center
201 N. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, Illinois 61801
(217) 300-7830