Duke Centennial Hall honors Duke Energy’s power of partnership with the University

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Duke Centennial Hall provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities and research laboratories for one of the most highly regarded engineering colleges in the Southeastern United States.

The 106,786-square-foot facility houses the Office of the Dean of the William States Lee College of Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science. It was dedicated Friday, Sept. 8, 2006, along with the adjacent William Grigg Hall, whose namesake is chairman emeritus of Duke Energy. Grigg served the company for 35 years prior to his retirement in 1997.

Duke Energy and UNC Charlotte leaders officially dedicate Duke Centennial and Grigg Halls.At the formal dedication ceremony, University and Duke Energy leaders flipped a power switch for the two buildings. Chancellor Philip L. Dubois noted, “Today’s dedication reflects the power of partnership between UNC Charlotte and Duke Energy to provide intellectual capital and drive economic development in the Charlotte region… With the brainpower, equipment and resources housed in these buildings, the Charlotte Research Institute is truly a force for the future as UNC Charlotte advances the research frontier.”

Duke Centennial Hall was designed by LS3P Associates Ltd., and its cost to construct was approximately $21 million. Adjacent to Duke Hall is an auxiliary building that houses the Alan Kulwicki Motorsports Lab.

The first floor of Duke Hall supports highly specialized precision engineering research programs with laboratories designed to keep structural vibrations and temperature fluctuations from interfering with precise measurements. The second floor has labs for the study of fluids, materials, bioengineering and computational mechanics, as well as classrooms, lecture halls and offices for faculty, graduate students and teaching assistants. On the third floor, there are additional offices and individual faculty research labs. Also, offices for the Center for Biomedical Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science and the college dean are on this floor.

In 2002, the Duke Energy Foundation announced a $10 million gift to the University’s capital campaign to fund Charlotte Research Institute initiatives and programs. Construction of Duke Centennial and Grigg halls began in 2003, with funding from the $3.1 billion bond referendum approved by North Carolina voters in 2000. The name Duke Centennial Hall reflects the 100-plus year history of Duke Energy in the Carolinas.

Atkins Library Special Collections and Mike Hermann, Lee College director of communications, contributed to this article.

Photo (inset): Duke Energy and UNC Charlotte leaders officially dedicate Duke Centennial and Grigg Halls.