Education

Construction at CPCC for a new, $113 million library and student center to begin soon

A rendering of the new student success center and library facilities at CPCC, set to open in January 2022.
A rendering of the new student success center and library facilities at CPCC, set to open in January 2022. Courtesy of Central Piedmont Community College

Construction for the new library and student center complex on Central Piedmont Community College’s central campus will begin in early August.

The 173,000-square-foot complex will be open to students in January 2022. The project, which will cost $113.5 million, is replacing the Terrell Building, the Hagemeyer Learning Resource Center and Pease Auditorium, which housed offices and student services, the library and performance center, respectively.

Demolition work began in December 2018 and finished in July.

Stewart, an engineering firm, is providing structural engineering and landscape architecture services, while Rodgers Builders will manage the project.

The $82.9 million library, funded by the county in 2017, will be 107,863 square feet and include traditional features such as book stacks and archives.

But it will also have new features not seen in the previous library, such as over 25 collaborative spaces, a classroom, a maker’s lab, outdoor terraces and a video studio with a green screen.

Greg Long, CPCC executive director of design and construction, said students wanted more spaces for small group work, since the campus has few common areas and meeting rooms.

“They were in dire need of places that they could work together,” Long said.

The library will also include a new 430-seat Pease Auditorium, which will have higher ceilings and a larger backstage to be a more accommodating performance space than the previous auditorium, Long said.

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A construction crane towers over a building on the campus at Central Piedmont Community College’s Central Campus on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Jeff Lowrance, vice president of communications, marketing and public relations, said the new library will accommodate the modern technological needs of students.

“The (library) we tore done was built in the 1960s, so it was built for its time and era,” Lowrance said. “This one is a much more advanced library for 21st-century students.”

The central campus library is temporarily being housed in the old Advanced Technology Building at 1241 Charlottetowne Ave, until the new complex is complete.

Feeling at home

The $30.6 million student center will house registration, financial aid, advising and admissions offices, as well as the testing and career centers, student government, student life organizations and an academic learning center.

Lowrance said the 77,572-square-foot center, funded by the county in 2013, will provide a welcoming space for prospective students. Its food court and student common areas will also cater to CPCC’s increasingly traditional student population who spend more time on campus.

“We need space for this younger student demographic that makes them feel at home,” Lowrance said.

Long said the complex will connect to the Central High Building, which houses the cashier’s office and services for veterans and students with disabilities, via an enclosed pedestrian bridge over Pease Lane.

Vicki Saville, associate vice president of facilities and construction, said the complex will be an iconic structure on campus, with lots of glass to provide views of the uptown skyline, Elizabeth Avenue and the main quad.

Saville said the building will be distinguishable from the Georgian architecture of other classroom buildings. The building will be taller and less wide than other structures on campus.

“It will be a much more efficiently compact footprint, so that it’s going to allow our students to have more greenspace, more exterior collaborative space,” Saville said.

Pease Lane will remain closed during construction.

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