CSUSM Celebrates Grand Opening of Viasat Engineering Pavilion

Jose Valdovinos, Staff Writer

On Friday, March 11th, CSUSM celebrated the grand opening of the new Viasat Engineering Pavilion with a commemorative ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Located at the former Foundation Classroom building, The Viasat Engineering Pavilion offers extra classroom space for CSUSM’s electrical and engineering programs. Additionally, The Viasat Engineering Pavilion offers collaborative spaces and design labs, allowing students to work on engineering projects and to collaborate amongst themselves, building a sense of community.

Named after the Carlsbad-based communications company of the same name, Viasat pledged 1.5 million to support CSUSM’s engineering program, allowing for the purchase of new lab equipment, interior renovations, and the enhanced learning of CSUSM’s students and faculty.

The Viasat Engineering Pavilion’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was originally scheduled for March 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony would be postponed to a later date. During the pandemic, The Pavilion was used by San Diego County as a walk-up COVID-19 testing site for the general public.

Kevin Harkenrider, Viasat’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in his ceremonial speech that Viasat’s interest in CSUSM is “more than a check for a building site.”

Viasat will be a long-time supporter of CSUSM and its programs, with Viasat having a special interest in CSUSM’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.

“[Viasat] has nurtured [CSUSM’s] growth and we are proud to be a part of the growing experience” Harkenrider would add.

Alongside Viasat, The Viasat Engineering Pavilion will also be supported by Hunter Industries, a San Marcos-based commercial and residential irrigation company, and Nordson Electronic Solutions, a multinational corporation specializing in technology and manufacturing. Both Hunter Industries and Nordson Electronic Solutions will pledge $100,000 to CSUSM’s engineering program.

The contributions made by Hunter Industries and Nordson will fund the construction of innovation labs inside the Pavilion, with the “Hunter Design Lab” and the “Nordson Innovation Lab” being named in dedication to their respective companies.

The first stage of renovation for the Viasat Engineering Pavilion finished in August 2019 with the creation of collaborative space and engineering labs. The second stage of renovation finished in February 2020, with the completion of office spaces and both the “Hunter Design Lab” and the “Nordson Innovation Lab.”

Alongside Harkenrider, guest speakers for the ribbon-cutting ceremony would included CSUSM Engineering students, The Interim Dean of CSUSM’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Jackie Trischman, San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond, San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, and CSUSM President Dr. Ellen Neufeldt.

“The very best thing about starting an engineering program from scratch is you get to start with the best, bring in the best of ideas, and build from the ground up.” Neufeldt said in her ceremonial speech, “The importance of partnering with the community is such a part of the fabric of this university, there is no doubt that we are building a premier engineering program in this community and in this nation.”

To learn more about the Viasat Engineering Building, visit https://www.csusm.edu/pdc/projects_completed/fcb_complete.html