MEMPHIS, TN – Christian Brothers University will announce plans for a new packaging building and expansion of St. Benilde Hall on its campus at 650 East Parkway South on Tuesday, February 14 at noon. 

The project is expected to be a $4.2M investment, led by Fleming Architects and Linkous Construction as general contractor. 

“I couldn’t be more excited about creating such an exclusive and innovative program for our students and our university,” said CBU Packaging Initiatives Coordinator Dr. Siripong Malasri. “My early vision for this project started with a dream about a packaging institute for our collaboration with industry partners. Since 2010, we have collaborated with various companies under the Healthcare Packaging Consortium. Current members include FedEx, International Paper, Smith + Nephew, Medtronic, Stryker, Crossroad Extremity Systems, and more. With the new space and equipment, the collaboration will be elevated to a higher level.” 

The new and enhanced St. Benilde Hall will consist of the existing ISTA Certified Transport Testing Laboratory, one of five in Memphis, and a future ISTA Certified Thermal Testing Laboratory. Currently, there are only 11 certified thermal labs worldwide with none hosted at a university. CBU’s goal is to be the first university to host such a certified thermal laboratory. The two certified laboratories will allow CBU to be more competitive in packaging education and research, recruiting, and commercial testing service. 

“We are adding roughly 4,700 square feet to the current site,” said CBU Operations Director Alex Smythe. “Between the two labs, we are acquiring seven new pieces of equipment.” 

The design lab will add 1,550 square feet while the thermal/distribution lab will add 1,950 square feet. The new equipment will include a vibration table, drop tester, incline impact tester, compression tables and three new, state-of-the-art environmental chambers to make work efficient and streamlined for CBU engineering students. 

“The faculty and leadership of the Gadomski School of Engineering is excited about the significant expansion of St. Benilde Hall,” said Dr. Faris Malhas, Dean of the Gadomski School of Engineering. “It will definitely provide more laboratory space for our engineering programs and hence improve the experiential learning opportunities for our students.” 

This new and exclusive program, featuring cold chain packaging and commercial testing, will recruit and attract more students to this field and has the potential to become a revenue generator for the university while also providing a great service to the community. The project will take a year to complete and will position CBU as a leader in the field of packaging.