Winston-Salem State University plans to start construction on a $53 million sciences building on campus next month.
The new 103,000-square-foot building is being funded by the Connect NC bond approved by voters last year, and construction on the facility is expected to finish in 2020. Winston-Salem State held a groundbreaking ceremony for the building on Friday.
The sciences building, which will be five stories, will anchor the university's Science District, along with the Elva J. Jones Computer Science Building, the F.L. Atkins Health Sciences Building and the W.B. Atkinson Science Building.
The new facility will feature an atrium, classrooms that allow for more collaboration and a maker space.
The classes in the building will include chemistry, biology, clinical laboratory sciences, and some health sciences, said Stephanie Dance-Barnes, co-chair of the department of biological sciences.
"There are going to be a lot of different resources that aren't in our basic building," she said. "With us having this newer innovative building, it will allow us to do more collaboration."
The university is hoping the new sciences building will help it recruit more faculty and students, Dance-Barnes said.
With the new building, Winston-Salem State also hopes to increase diversity in careers in STEM-related fields, by exposing K-12 students to science programs and creating a pipeline into its undergraduate programs, Dance-Barnes said.
She said the new facility also gives the university a greater ability to contribute to the innovation and research developing in Winston-Salem.
"We're coming to the table with a strong stance," Dance-Barnes said. "We're hopeful that it's going to lead to further collaboration and partnerships."