Building on Education Experience with Elizabeth City State University

DPR brought its technical expertise to the Elizabeth City State University project using BIM for clash detection of overhead systems and extracting quantities from models for quicker estimating and budgeting.

In the burgeoning Raleigh-Durham, NC, region, DPR has leveraged its extensive experience in the higher education market sector nationwide to secure its first project for Elizabeth City State University, the School of Education and Psychology. Designed to function as a gateway to the campus, the showcase project is under construction and slated for completion this November.

The three-story, 48,000-sq.-ft. School of Education and Psychology Building will include both classrooms and faculty and staff office space. Its design, by architect The Freelon Group, seeks to foster collaboration and interaction between the departments of education and psychology, as well as faculty and students.

The building incorporates extensive audio-visual technology and videoconferencing capabilities that will support learning for students both present on campus and those participating through distance learning programs. The goal was to create a building that will serve not only the university but also the greater community as a center for education and outreach.

In addition to its technical features, the project incorporates a high degree of sustainability. Despite a 7 percent budget cut handed down by the state due to economic conditions, DPR and the university maintained their commitment to delivering a maximum value, sustainable facility. As part of a new North Carolina Senate bill mandating energy-efficient facilities, the building has been designed to be 47 percent more efficient than the ASHRAE 90.1 standard. To achieve these energy savings, its design relies on 80 geothermal wells, each 300 feet deep, to help heat and cool the internal air. Although not pursuing LEED certification, according to DPR Project Manager Nick Ertmer, the building features a myriad of sustainable elements that would earn the facility a rating of LEED Gold.

The DPR team brought its technical expertise to the project, using BIM for clash detection of overhead systems and coordination and extracting quantities directly from the models for quicker, more efficient estimating and budgeting.

During preconstruction, DPR was able to keep the project on track by breaking out an early site phase and performing the geotechnical soil surcharge process early on. “That allowed us to continue with early site work, while the design and procurement process was finished for the main building portion,” said Ertmer. The project is currently progressing on schedule and below budget.