After years of having its growing computer science department spread all over campus, Harvey Mudd College has finally opened the doors of its brand-new Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center.
The college began the building’s construction in summer 2019 and added in the finishing touches in recent weeks, just in time for the fall semester.
The three-story McGregor Center features 37,000 square feet of computer science clinics and project studios, teaching and research laboratories, collaboration spaces and department offices in addition to a permanent makerspace.
Students like Qing Yang HM ’23 are finding the new computer science building a much needed change to the previously “disorganized mess.”
“I remember in my freshman year I had class in the Galileo lecture hall and in the basement part of the building and it was so confusing to get around. They basically were having CS students run all over campus in maze-like buildings. It was really hard to find professors’ offices or even a room to study in,” Yang said.
Yang first saw the McGregor Center over Zoom last semester as her professor gave students a virtual tour of the building during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I remember seeing the new CS building and really loving it because we finally have a building that is really nice and easy to navigate,” she said.
The building’s unique location and orientation help create a welcoming gateway to the HMC campus, according to the HMC guide to McGregor.
The McGregor Center “will help us build a sense of community and belonging while also allowing us to better respond to the needs of students in a more integrated, cohesive way,” Jim Boerkoel, chair of the Department of Computer Science, said on the HMC website.
The building will help respond to a surge in popularity for Mudd’s computer science offerings in recent years. More than 42 percent of last year’s graduates opted for a computer science-related major, statistics show, compared to 32 percent just five years prior.
The building’s novel design by the Steinberg Hart architectural firm won numerous awards over the past year, including the Southern California Development Forum’s Honor Award last December, as well as its 2020 People’s Choice Award. Engineering News-Record California also named the computer science center as Southern California’s best higher education/research project in July.