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NCSU's Centennial Campus: A City Within A City

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RALEIGH — North Carolina State Universityis reinventing itself with one of the most unique new campuses in the world.

N.C. State's Centennial Campus is sprouting new buildings at a record pace, and will eventually be home to as many students and corporate employees as the existing campus. It sits within view of downtownRaleigh.

"It's a bold idea," says Claude McKinney, the Centennial Campus coordinator. "It's on land that's owned by the people of North Carolina - 1,000 acres. We can't sell any of the land, we can only use it. So our objective is to build a city within a city."

Currently, there are 13 buildings with eight more coming in three years. People will live in apartments and town homes on the campus, and a new high tech middle school will also take shape in a corner of the land.

The rebirth of Lake Raleigh, emptied by Hurricane Fran, will bring even more amenities.

"We are going to build a golf course, a hotel, conference center and an alumni center that will be right next door," McKinney said.

Centennial Campus is already a major research facility with large companies taking root.

More than $200 million has already been invested in buildings on the campus, and much of that investment is coming from the private sector.

Developer Craig Davis is completing the first of four big office buildings.

"The first building we have is 110,000 square feet of space, and 102,000 of that is preliminarily committed, so we're very fortunate with that," Davis said. "The second building is now about 50 percent occupied."

McKinney says Centennial's growth has just begun. Early in the next century, more than 30,000 people will live, work and learn there.

The campus is so unique and promising, other universities, including UNC-Chapel Hill, may follow N.C. State's example.


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