EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Nov. 6, 2019) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is celebrating a milestone in the construction of its state-of-the-art Engineering Research and Innovation Complex (ERIC).

Local dignitaries joined more than 150 North Carolina A&T State University faculty, staff, students and alumni Nov. 5 for a traditional “topping out” ceremony when the uppermost beam was placed on the ERIC. The building is about 40 percent complete and scheduled to open in 2021.

The university broke ground just over a year ago for the four-story 130,000-square foot building on the former site of the original Hayes-Taylor YMCA facility at Dudley and Market streets. It is being built using a $90 million investment from the Connect NC bond referendum, which state voters passed in 2016.

Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. called the ERIC an “incredible edifice” demonstrating N.C. A&T’s dedication to research, innovation and economic impact, which attracts the most outstanding faculty, students and staff and “expands our university’s possibilities.”

“This is another addition to our university that contributes to the growth of the economy, meeting the needs of our state and region,” Martin said. “The community’s expectations and demands of the university are to retain, attract and create jobs.”

The ERIC will be an integral component of the N.C. A&T College of Engineering (COE), the No. 1 producer of undergraduate-level engineering degrees awarded to African Americans in the nation, by establishing a pipeline of diverse STEM leaders.

With consistent enrollment in COE and a growing need for engineers from diverse backgrounds, the ERIC will affirm the university’s position in the marketplace by providing the necessary space to accommodate the increasing number of engineering students and to support their respective research interests.

“Creating environments in which innovation and cutting-edge discoveries are nurtured and accelerated is important to all of us,” said COE Dean Robin N. Coger, Ph.D. “The Engineering Research and Innovation Complex is designed with that goal in mind.”

As an interdisciplinary and multifunctional center for academics, research and community engagement, the ERIC will provide the technology, environment and education necessary to meet the global challenges of the future.

The ERIC will host experiential learning and prototyping laboratories and studios, distance learning facilities and modern learning spaces. In addition, it will transform the speed at which ideas are put into practice and in which knowledge is transferred from academia to industry and government.

Once completed, the ERIC will serve as a catalyst for short- and long-term economic growth and development, helping to foster partnerships with local and regional industries and creating job opportunities that directly benefit the entire local community, as companies seek to meet the demands of tomorrow.

“I join my colleagues – in the College of Engineering and across the university community – in being excited over the future collaborations and collision of ideas that the innovative climate of the ERIC will foster once the facility is completed,” Coger said.