CEE Modernization Plan

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. Read more about the overall plan below, or visit the Modernization website to learn about Phase II of the project -- the construction of the new CEE Building -- including how you can support the project.

Modernization Website

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):

Construction of the new CEE Building is complete, but additional funding is still needed to fully equip the laboratories and classrooms. 

The department has completed construction on the expansion and renovation of the Hydrosystems Laboratory: the new CEE Building and Bahl Smart Bridge opened for business in Fall 2022. The building includes hands-on instructional laboratories, collaborative and classroom space for all CEE students, faculty offices and graduate student workspace and a smart bridge which connects the new building to Newmark Lab.

The Kavita and Lalit Bahl Smart Bridge is an exciting part of the project , and was 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

Learn about the features of the Bahl Smart Bridge here.

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.

Make a Gift

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