Raleigh, N.C. — Stewart, an interdisciplinary design, engineering and planning firm, played a pivotal role in the design and development of East Carolina University’s (ECU) new student center, which officially opened on Jan. 7 on the university’s main campus. The North Carolina-based firm provided structural engineering and special inspections services, helping to bring the sprawling 214,000 square foot space to life.
Stewart collaborated amongst practice areas and with key partners to design and develop the new student center, which is replacing the former Mendenhall Student Center and nearly doubling its size. The new three-story building sits on East Tenth Street and Library Drive, boasting the Dowdy Student Store, a new centrally located bookstore, a 14,000 square foot ballroom, as well as a Black Box Theater and new retail spaces. Six dining options have been added for students, as well as multiple lounges, study rooms and a new gaming center.
“Our previous student center was built in 1974 and with our ECU community experiencing tremendous growth, we knew it needed to be revitalized,” said Dean Smith, director of student centers for student involvement and leadership at East Carolina University. “Our new student center matches ECU’s mission as a leadership university that is committed to student success, public service and regional transformation. We’re thankful for Stewart’s role in the process to help us deliver the programs, updates and services that our students deserve.”
Stewart’s structural engineering practice brought the vision of architectural firm Perkins+Will to life, and Stewart’s special inspections services were foundational to the project, conducted in coordination with general contractor Barnhill Contracting Company and T.A. Loving Construction Company.
“Our role in the design and development of ECU’s new student center reflects our commitment to our communities and our steadfast focus on growth and innovation,” said Craig Fisher, vice president and manager of structural engineering at Stewart. “We’re proud to have the opportunity to help make a positive impact on students’ experiences and demonstrate ECU’s commitment to student success.”
Stewart’s impact can be found across ECU’s campus, with other projects recently completed or currently underway. Stewart led the remodel of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, where 50,000 ECU Pirate fans gather to watch football games each fall. This past summer, updates were made to the Ward Building, including renovations made to the Reid Locker Rooms and the installation of hydrotherapy pools for the athletes. Ahead of the 2019 season, Stewart is also helping to renovate and expand the south side of the stadium to enhance the fan experience and offer better amenities to press. Additionally, Stewart is playing an integral role in the design and development of Proximity at 10th, a luxury off-campus student apartment community that will open in the fall of 2019 just steps from campus.