VCU unveils new $93M engineering school research building

VCU’s newly constructed Engineering Research Building recently opened. The $93 million building is located at the northeast corner of Cary and Belvidere streets. (Photos courtesy of VCU)

VCU recently cut the ribbon on its new $93 million Engineering Research Building at the northeast corner of Cary and Belvidere streets.

The four-story, 133,000-square-foot facility features interdisciplinary research labs, study areas, a career services center and a cafe.

The building also features a 9,000-square-foot Innovation Maker Facility, a space dedicated to experiential learning and equipped with a 3-D printer among other resources.

Kjellstrom + Lee Construction was the project’s construction management firm. Baskervill served as the project’s executive architect. Goody Clancy, a Boston firm, was the design architect and Smith + McClane was the consulting architect.

VCU broke ground on the project in 2018.

The new engineering building connects to VCU School of Business’s Snead Hall and VCU Engineering’s East Hall. The project added a shared workspace and courtyard to create common spaces for the complex, a setup that VCU officials said would foster interdisciplinary collaboration.

VCU’s Engineering Research Building features an Innovation Maker Facility, which is a space dedicated to experiential learning and equipped with a 3-D printer among other resources.

The university held a virtual ceremony to officially open the facility on Wednesday, when engineering school Dean Barbara Boyan, VCU President Michael Rao and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe shared remarks.

“This great new space is going to serve as a bold, advanced innovation corridor for VCU’s college of engineering, our maker garage, the school of business and the VCU Brandcenter,” Rao said. “It’s a great place where diverse talents will meet with the common goal of advancing humanity through practice, state-of-the-art and compassionate solutions to important problems.”

The facility was largely financed through taxable bonds split between VCU and the state. Altria also donated money for the facility, which opened slightly behind its initial plan to open at the start of VCU’s fall semester. That wasn’t a result of the coronavirus pandemic. An underground natural spring was found during construction, and created water issues that needed to be resolved, a VCU spokeswoman said.

Among VCU’s other recent real estate endeavors, the school in December spent $4.5 million for the Salvation Army property at 2601 Hermitage Road near the Diamond. That property will be part of an upcoming athletics village that could include a new baseball stadium.

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