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Higgins Laboratories

Higgins Labs

100 Institute Road, Worcester MA, 01609

Higgins Labs was built in 1942 to provide a new home for the Department of Mechanical Engineering, which had outgrown its space in Stratton Hall. The three-story building was named after Milton P. Higgins, the first superintendent of WPI’s Washburn Shops; it originally housed early laboratories for experiments in heat transfer, lubricants, fuels, structure of metals, ventilation, heating, refrigeration, metallurgy, and internal combustion. In 1994 the building was completely refurbished and expanded—it now houses classrooms and labs for the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, as well as several robotics engineering labs. Facilities include a state-of-the-art design studio, low-speed wind tunnel, and laboratories for computer-aided engineering, fluid dynamics and thermal processes, laser holography, structural dynamics and vibrations, manufacturing, and rehabilitation engineering and biomechanics.

COVID-19 Building-Specific Safety Measures

  • Cleaning: Daily enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces in classrooms, hallways, stairs, elevator, bathrooms, and meeting spaces. Daily fogging of spaces with a disinfectant cleaning solution. 
  • Cleaning Supplies: Provided in centralized locations on each floor and in classrooms so individuals can clean their own work space and equipment. 
  • Hand Sanitizer: Provided at entrances, in classrooms, and throughout public areas. Departments may be providing hand sanitizer at additional locations in office suites. 
  • Signage: To inform social distancing practices, occupancy limits, and cleaning requirements throughout the building. 
  • Bathrooms: Bathrooms have reduced occupancies required — some will be single use occupancy to maintain social distancing. Drinking fountains have been shut off for your safety — where available, water bottle filler stations remain operational.
  • Classrooms and Teaching Labs: Classroom capacity has been reduced to maintain 6’ social distancing, daily enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces, cleaning supplies provided for students and faculty to clean personal space, where possible directional flow in and out of classrooms are indicated. 
  • Ventilation: Windows may be opened for ventilation. If you open a window, be sure to shut off the air conditioner in that space.  Ventilation systems have been inspected, filters changed, and adjusted to increase ventilation rates.
  • Clear Barriers: Clear plexiglass barriers have been installed at classroom teaching stations and service desks in department offices to help reduce transmission. 
  • Building Access: The building will remain locked during business hours and is accessible with your WPI ID card. Campus visitors must register in advance and be escorted by the department. 

Offices and Departments


From left, From left, Lyubov Titova, Pratap Rao, and Aaron Deskins, stand in the WPI NanoEnergy Lab looking toward the viewer alt
From left, Lyubov Titova, assistant professor of physics, Pratap Rao, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Aaron Deskins, associate professor of chemical engineering in the WPI NanoEnergy Lab
October 11, 2017
Steve Ferdon alt
WPI professor Rick Sisson (left) presents Steve Ferdon of Cummins Inc. with the CHTE Distinguished Service Award.
July 20, 2017