North Carolina HBCU Opens $38 Million Business School Building

North Carolina Central University opened a new business school building featuring advanced facilities to boost cybersecurity and artificial intelligence instruction.
portrait of Bennett Leckrone
Bennett Leckrone
Read Full Bio

Reporter, Business Education

Bennett Leckrone is a news writer for BestColleges. Before joining BestColleges, Leckrone reported on state politics with the nonprofit news outlet Maryland Matters as a Report for America fellow. He previously interned for The Chronicle of Higher Ed...
Published on March 5, 2024
Edited by
portrait of Alex Pasquariello
Alex Pasquariello
Read Full Bio

Managing Editor, News

Alex Pasquariello is a senior news editor for BestColleges. Prior to joining BestColleges he led Metropolitan State University of Denver's digital journalism initiative. He holds a BS in journalism from Northwestern University....
Learn more about our editorial process
Image Credit: Ryan Herron / iStock / Getty Images Plus

  • North Carolina Central University opened a new business school facility Feb. 28.
  • The 76,000-square-foot building will feature a business innovation lab to help students learn new technology, including artificial intelligence (AI).
  • It will also feature a cybersecurity lab and a business incubator suite to bolster innovation.
  • NCCU has embraced emerging tech in its business curriculum, including adding a cybersecurity concentration to its master of business administration (MBA) program.

With facilities equipped for artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other high-demand skills, a new business school facility at a historically Black university in North Carolina is set to shape future leaders in the state and beyond.

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in Durham formally opened its new 76,000-square-foot business school facility Feb. 28, according to a press release from the school. That $38.6 million building will feature facilities aimed at preparing students for high-demand careers.

The new facility will include a cybersecurity lab, building on the school's growing focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields for its master of business administration (MBA) curriculum.

That cybersecurity lab aims to prepare students for a rapidly growing field, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that employment of information security analysts alone will increase by 32% — significantly faster than the national average for all occupations — from 2022-2032.

The cybersecurity lab will join a number of other interactive, real-world-focused features in NCCU's new business building. That will include a business innovation lab featuring technology like artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printers, virtual reality, and other emerging technologies that are important to businesses and students alike.

Students can get help adapting these rapidly evolving technologies into viable ventures with the building's business incubator suite, which will offer financial resources and courses to students and community members. The building will also feature a trading room with Bloomberg Terminals and a culinary lab to help aspiring hospitality professionals.

This structure symbolizes NCCU's commitment to academic excellence and stands as a testament to our tenacious pursuit of knowledge and innovation, NCCU Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye said in the release.

I hope this building will always nurture future leaders who will shape the world with brilliance and resilience, contributing significantly to North Carolina's business landscape.

NCCU has for years been an innovator in its MBA curriculum, and in 2021 became the first historically Black college or university (HBCU) to launch a real estate concentration for its MBA degree.

NCCU School of Business Dean Anthony Nelson said the new building is a monumental advancement for the school.

The impact of this move on our students' future success cannot be overstated — it is truly a game changer, Nelson said.

Business Schools Take on Innovative Building Projects

NCCU's previous business school building, originally built in 1956 and refurbished in the early 2000s, lacked critical facilities for today's collaborative instruction and research methods, according to a 2021 press release from when the university broke ground on the new building.

NCCU's move to build a new business school reflects a nationwide trend amid a changing business education landscape. A number of schools — from small, regional universities to major research institutions — have undertaken ambitious business school building projects in recent years.

Purdue University will build a 164,000-square-foot new facility for the recently revamped Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business. Daniels School Dean James Bullard said the building will be student-centered.

It will provide learning environments and study spaces at the cutting edge of business school facilities, Bullard said in a press release. There will be space for research centers and partnership opportunities with practitioners, as well as student advising areas.

Western Kentucky University in 2023 broke ground on a $74 million building for its Gordon Ford College of Business. That facility will feature Bloomberg trading terminals and a virtual reality lab, and it will seek to engage local businesses with students.

Fostering additional partnerships with regional business leaders, this space increases our role in the development of the business community and workforce by offering training and credentialing opportunities and spaces intentionally created to further networking and job placement opportunities for our students, Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni said in the release at the time.

Southern Connecticut State University in 2023 opened a sustainability-focused business school building last year with a net-zero carbon footprint. That 60,000-square-foot building, with facilities focused on financial and data analytics and a behavioral lab, includes solar panels and geothermal wells to achieve the net-zero status.