NC Central University Student Center Groundbreaking

John L. Atkins, III, Remarks
June 26, 2019

This is a special place. In 1986 this campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a special university. An HBCU university with a stellar history and legacy going back 110 years.

The heart and soul of this university is its students. They, also, are special. When they graduate, they each, individually, will have contributed 120 hours to campus and community service. Last year these students collectively contributed 200,000 hours of service. It is a dynamic student body that expresses itself through 130 student organizations, 12 honor societies and the publication of Campus Echo, the student newspaper that has been in publication since 1910.

These students go on to excel. Graduates of North Carolina Central have distinguished themselves as federal and state judges, members of Congress, a governor, mayors, professional athletes, corporate business leaders, artists, musicians, actors and journalist. NCCU graduates have always been in the forefront of societal discourse in both North Carolina and the United States; and remain there today.

It is only right that the University provide a special student center for these young Eagles. As such, O’Brien Atkins put together a national design team to ensure a successful outcome. We asked MHTN to be a team member. MHTN is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is a national thought leader on the design of student centers. They have been involved in over three dozen centers in the US. In addition, we asked our friends at Duda Paine in Durham to be a on our team. Their design skills with student centers have been demonstrated at NC State and Emory Universities.

The collective effort of this design team will produce a 106,000 square foot facility—that’s 22 Screaming Eagles basketball courts. It will have four food court vendors and an associated dining area along with a convenience store for grab-and-go food and a coffee shop. These students need to be well fed!! The center will be able to prepare 25,000 meals a week. In addition, the students will be provided with an event space that will accommodate a 750-seat banquet and can also be used for an 1,100-seat meeting hall.

Students also need a reprieve from their studies. As such, we have designed a games center that will offer numerous electronic games and billiards. As past students we know games and food go hand-in-hand enhancing a student’s life.

In addition, there is an outside events area which is depicted in the rendering. This space will allow for activities similar to what takes place at The Bowl on campus today.

The center will house numerous student organizations including Student Government, the Royal Court, the Student Activities Board and Greek organizations. It also has space for multiple centers that support women, diversity and inclusion initiatives as well as Men’s achievements.

This is a special place; this is a special university with students at its heart and soul. The O’Brien Atkins Design Team is proud to be a part of the University’s commitment to provide the students with an exceptional student center.