New health and human services building at WCU completed

Press Release

From Blueplate PR

September 10, 2012 (Asheville, NC) – Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee (PBC+L), an award-winning architectural firm with offices in Asheville and Raleigh, NC, has completed Western Carolina University’s Health and Human Sciences Building, the first building on WCU’s new 344-acre Millennial Campus.

The 160,000-square-foot building includes classrooms, research and teaching labs, offices, and light food service. Ample meeting space on all floors, both formal and informal, encourages student and faculty interaction, small and large group study, and cross-disciplinary learning.

A three-level central atrium organizes the interior and contains required stairs and elevators. Offices serving the numerous schools housed within the building are integrated throughout, rather than segregated by department. The traditional library is replaced with a “Collaborative Center,” which features printed and electronic periodicals, ports for web-based research, a help desk, and private meeting rooms where students gather to create and rehearse presentations.

A community-university partnership, the Health and Human Sciences Building offers an inter-departmental community clinic staffed by WCU student-faculty teams. The clinic’s specialized health and rehabilitation services include a rehab pool in which students develop aquatic therapy skills. Technological features include a video production studio, extensive video conferencing equipment, and telemedicine capabilities so that procedures performed anywhere in the world can be viewed in real time in high definition, and vice versa. Telemedicine equipment also allows faculty members to view live video feeds of patient-student interactions and to host off-site guest speakers.

PBC+L has designed the Health and Human Sciences Building, WCU’s first LEED-certified project, for LEED Silver certification. The building shape evolved from the site’s contours, helping to minimize environmental impact. Sustainability features include complex daylighting strategies, storm water management, a 20,000-square-foot roof garden, enhanced insulation, and optimal solar orientation.

The PBC+L Asheville design team includes Chad Roberson, AIA, LEED AP; project architect Sara Melanson, AIA, LEED AP; and Joel Helms, AIA, LEED AP. The design for the Health & Human Sciences Building received a 2008 AIA Asheville Honor Award.

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For more information on Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, visit

About Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee:

Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee (PBC+L) is an award-winning, full-service architectural firm specializing in academic and cultural arts projects. PBC+L has offices in Raleigh and Asheville, North Carolina. The firm’s work has been published in numerous professional journals and the firm was ranked 23rd in Architecture magazine’s Top 50 Firms in the nation. For more information, visit or find the firm on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.


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