Western Carolina University Receives State Funding for New Engineering Building

Investment in state-of-the-art facility to meet growing demand for engineering and technology professionals

Western Carolina University (WCU) has secured a significant boost from the General Assembly, with the state making a substantial investment in a new engineering building. With the existing building dating back to the 1960s, the university recognizes the need for a modern facility to address the space constraints and evolving demands of the engineering program. The funding will enable WCU to expand its capacity, offer a wider range of fields of study, and better equip students to meet the growing needs of the regional labor market.

Addressing a Critical Need in the Region

WCU’s engineering program plays a vital role in meeting the critical need for engineering and technology professionals in the region. As the only college of engineering west of Interstate 77, WCU has been instrumental in providing skilled graduates to support local industries. However, with the growing demand in the labor market, both university officials and state lawmakers recognize the need for added capacity. A nearly $100 million investment from the General Assembly will kickstart the process of constructing a new building, ensuring WCU can continue to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

Adapting to Evolving Technologies

The new engineering building will position WCU to adapt to emerging technologies and industry demands. While the current curriculum covers staples such as machining, electrical engineering, and construction management, the new facility will enable the university to expand its offerings. With a focus on areas like solar energy, 3-D modeling, robotics, and automation, WCU aims to produce graduates who are well-prepared for the changing landscape of the engineering field. By equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge, the university can meet the demands of industries such as renewable energy and electric vehicles.

Doubling Capacity and Boosting the Region

The existing Belk Building, which houses the engineering program, can accommodate 800 students. However, with the new engineering building, WCU aims to double its capacity, allowing for more students to pursue engineering and technology degrees. This expansion will not only benefit the university but also have a positive impact on the region. With a larger pool of skilled graduates, the local talent pool will grow, attracting businesses and industries to the area. This, in turn, will lead to job creation and economic growth, making the region an attractive location for companies looking to expand.

Fostering Innovation and Creativity

The new engineering building will provide students with state-of-the-art facilities to test and develop their ideas. Dean Randy Collins emphasizes that students possess unlimited creativity, and the new building will serve as a catalyst for innovation. Equipped with cutting-edge technology and ample space, students will have the resources they need to bring their ideas to life. This hands-on approach to learning will not only enhance the educational experience but also prepare students for real-world challenges and industry expectations.


Western Carolina University’s receipt of state funding for a new engineering building marks a significant step forward in meeting the growing demand for engineering and technology professionals. With the current building reaching its limits, the new facility will provide the necessary space and resources to expand the program’s offerings and adapt to emerging technologies. By doubling the capacity and attracting more students to pursue engineering degrees, WCU aims to foster innovation, contribute to the regional labor market, and position the area as an attractive location for businesses and industries. The construction of the new building will take several years, but the anticipation and excitement among students and faculty are palpable as they look forward to the progress and opportunities it will bring.






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