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College prepares next step in move to Centennial

Architect's rendering of the future Fitts-Woolard Hall
Architect's rendering of the future Fitts-Woolard Hall

The College of Engineering made its first move toward a new home on Centennial Campus in 2004, with the opening of Engineering Building I.

Engineering Building II opened in 2005 and Engineering Building III in 2010. Now, the College is prepared to take the next step toward a home on Centennial with the construction of the Engineering Oval building.*

Engineering Oval will house the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering; and the College administration as well as an Engineering Education Center that includes student advising and other student services. This new marquee building will help move the College closer to unification on Centennial and leverage the power of convergence across disciplines. Having the College centered on Centennial Campus provides an atmosphere for College of Engineering students and faculty members unmatched anywhere in the nation, one that will foster and facilitate innovation in research and education through partnership opportunities.

Graphic rendering of the proposed Oval building“The Engineering Oval building is a vital next step as our College continues this journey to educate the engineers of tomorrow and maintain its status as one of the leading public colleges of engineering in the country,” said Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College. “No one is standing still. Many of our peers and aspirational peers are receiving significant commitments to grow even more their resources in engineering.”

Six of the College’s nine academic departments – the departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Joint
NC State/UNC Department of Biomedical Engineering – are already housed on Centennial.

Since land for this innovative campus, located south of NC State’s main campus on the other side of Western Boulevard, was first designated in 1984, it has become a model for the 21st-century university campus that combines academics, research, government and industry in one livable complex. The original plans included moving the College of Engineering to Centennial Campus to serve as a centerpiece for research and education. Engineering Oval brings NC State closer to its dream of a campus that drives North Carolina’s high tech economy.

Located between Engineering

Mapped location of proposed Oval buildingBuilding I and the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, Engineering Oval is designed to marry the brick-and-mortar architecture of Engineering Buildings I, II and III with the modern glass look of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, creating a light-filled and vibrant space that encourages collaboration. This 232,000-square-foot building housing more than 100 classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories will be a hub for advancing knowledge and excellence in areas such as biomanufacturing, advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping, health systems engineering, construction engineering and management, environmental engineering, transportation systems and other fields of great societal impact.

A different funding model

The university will use the state flexibility for public-private partnerships to finance construction. The College and the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc. are developing lead philanthropic commitments, with about $20 million in gifts and conditional pledges given so far.

Word on expected commitment from the state of North Carolina was being worked out late this summer as the North Carolina Legislature continued its budget negotiations.

With the university initiating strategies to save on infrastructure costs, the overall project is expected to cost $137.7 million.

“This will go down as a significant project in the history of NC State,” said Brian E. Campbell, assistant dean for development and college relations and executive director of the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc. “It will be the first time in our history in which we’ve had a public-private partnership of this scope. That’s not to mention the fact that it will be one step closer to unifying the College on Centennial Campus.”

Note: This video describes the location and potential look and feel of the Engineering Oval Building on Centennial Campus.

*On April 20, 2018, at the groundbreaking, the Engineering Building Oval (EB Oval) was renamed Fitts-Woolard Hall.

Return to contents or download the Fall/Winter 2015 NC State Engineering magazine.