The surge of nanotechnology research at NC State is resulting in rapid deployment of new laboratories, classrooms and offices to help researchers stay competitive in one of the most challenging and futuristic areas of modern science. The University has recently broken ground on two large buildings on its Centennial Campus, most of which will be devoted to nanotechnology. Both buildings are designed to house the specialized nanoscience instruments that allow manipulation of single atoms.

Partners Building III, an 80,000-square-foot facility expected to open in early 2005, will provide updated laboratories for nano physics, chemistry, and theory groups, including the planned Center for Nanotechnology Innovation, in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Sharing the building will be College of Agriculture and Life Sciences researchers in genomics and metabolic engineering. Under construction nearby, a new College of Engineering building will add 90,000 square feet of labs, offices and classrooms by the summer of 2004 to consolidate the chemical engineering and materials science departments, both major players on NC State’s nanotechnology team. The new buildings will add to a growing cluster of facilities on Centennial Campus devoted to advanced materials research and education, including the College of Textiles complex, the Materials Research Center, and the Engineering Graduate Research Center complex, which houses several university-industry-government materials-related research centers.

The programs moving to the two new buildings were first in line not only because of their need for more technology-capable space, but also because of the large amount of grant funding they attract. Partners Building III is being built with borrowed funds to be repaid partially with indirect cost receipts (also known as facilities and administrative funds) from research grants. In addition to the two new academic and research buildings, construction is proceeding on a new energy plant to provide steam and chilled water to more efficiently heat and cool these and other new buildings on Centennial Campus. Funds for the engineering building and energy plant were made possible by North Carolina voters, who passed a $3.1 billion higher education construction bond referendum in 2000.