East Carolina University’s newest research building, the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building, is projected to be completed by August 2021 and will be located on the corner of 10th Street and Cotanche Street.
On July 12, ECU held a groundbreaking ceremony on-site for the new Life Sciences and Biotechnology building where several university officials were able to celebrate the beginning of the project.
Robert Brown, project manager for the building, said the new building will have an overall gross square footage of 141,500 square feet and will be four stories tall with a fifth-floor mechanical penthouse, which is an area used to store mechanical equipment. He said the building will be used for various purposes.
“The ECU Life Sciences and Biotechnology building will house interdisciplinary programs that involve external partners, faculty and students in the fields of biology, chemistry, and biomedical/process engineering,” Brown said.
Brown said the building is located on the land within the intersections of Ninth Street, 10th Street and Cotanche Street, an area in close proximity to ECU’s main campus.
According to Brown, construction is ongoing and will last until about July 30, 2021 at a cost of $90 million for the total project cost.
There will be parking for the new facility, Brown said. He said there will be a 248 space surface parking lot for the building. Surface parking lots are flat, paved parking lots, as opposed to multi-story parking decks like the one located at ECU’s Main Campus Student Center.
Brown said the building will support wet bench and computational laboratory spaces when the facility is complete. Wet bench research includes lab benches, sinks, hoods, microscopes and typically involve chemicals and/or biological specimen. The computational laboratory space will additionally accommodate office research areas for data analysis.
Brown said the building will contain 62 staff offices when completely built out. He said the new amenities will provide future ECU students and faculty with a unique learning space where advanced and innovative science can take place.
“This new science facility will provide state-of-the-art science facilities needed to attract top-quality faculty in applied research, increase student access to modern science education, and facilitate the application, translation, and communication of scientific research and scholarship to broader audiences,” Brown said.
Brown said the new building is a Millennial Campus site in the Warehouse District of Greenville. According to ECU’s website, Millennial Campuses are areas within institutions, especially research universities, where the school gains support from various partners to create new innovative places for ideas and progress.
The new building will attract students, faculty and industry partners who will benefit from each other to create a more efficient and well-qualified research community, according to Brown.
“This building will create opportunities for partnerships and discovery with our local industry partners, provide for research programs that will be globally competitive and produce higher-skilled graduates that will be able to compete successfully in the global workplace,” Brown said.
Ron Mitchelson, ECU’s Provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said the new building will have many uses and purposes which will lead to lasting effects in the region. He said students will solve problems with manufacturing plants, hospitals, military bases and coastal environmental problems, for example.
“We want to maximize student success and to lead regional transformation,” Mitchelson said. “We wanted a building that could address real-world problems in our region while involving our students to create innovative solutions to those problems.”
Mitchelson said the new Life Sciences and Biotechnology building will serve as a place where students can pursue their educational interests and solve problems.
“You will find biologists, engineers, physicists and chemists in this building once completed by August 2021,” Mitchelson said. “We have over 2,000 biology and engineering majors at undergraduate and graduate levels at ECU. This new building will be humming with teams of faculty and students doing interdisciplinary research and solving difficult problems.”
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Virginia Hardy said she is excited to see the project progress in the next two years.
Hardy said the Life Science and Biotechnology is a game-changer for the university as it will provide students with a “top-notch” education in a state-of-the-art facility.
“This is very exciting. We very desperately need a new science building and this is going to meet a need for us. It’s going to be a game-changer for us (ECU) too from an academic perspective,” Hardy said.