Construction on Founders Hall, IQ2 enters the final stretch

Construction is scheduled to be completed this summer with Founders Hall and IQ 2 slated to open to faculty, staff and students in August.

A view of the exterior of IQ2 shows the progress of construction Thursday, January 13, 2022. 

Construction of the first two buildings in Elon’s new Innovation Quad are in the final stretch of providing state-of-the-art facilities for the engineering and physics departmens while also laying the groundwork for a future bridge between STEM and the humanities.

The construction of Founders Hall and IQ2 is expected to be completed by June 1. “We’ll work on getting all the furniture brought in at the beginning of the summer and then it’ll probably be August before the public starts coming in and professors and faculty start setting up,” said Daniel Carper Jr., director for construction management. “It’s going to be a race to the finish.”

A mason lays brick for the exterior of IQ2, Thursday, January 13, 2022. (Rob Brown photo)

The university broke ground for the buildings, which are located between the Dalton L. McMichael Science Center and Richard W. Sankey Hall, in spring 2021. The 20,000-square-foot Founders Hall, which is supported by a gift from Furman ’56 and Susan Moseley, will be two stories and will house workshops, labs and student engagement spaces. IQ2 is a three-story, 40,000 square foot complex that will house additional labs and faculty offices.

One of its objectives of the Innovation Quad, which is included in Boldly Elon, the university’s 10-year strategic plan, is to serve as a physical connection for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business.

Construction work continues on Founders Hall Thursday, January 13, 2022. (Rob Brown photo)

The first two IQ buildings are catalysts for a “visionary plan” that aims to advance the convergence of engineering and sciences with entrepreneurship, sales, design thinking and analytics. Innovation Quad will include many different elements beyond academic space.

“There’s a master plan … that’s a combination of dorms, dining halls, classrooms,” Carper said.

Those future developments will be built on the former site of Elon Elementary School, land the university acquired in 2017. 

Gabie Smith, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, has called the Innovation Quad the “entry point to the future of Elon.”

Interior painting and ceiling installation in IQ2 will begin soon. Exterior, residential-style windows have already been put in, but in the interior window frames will be field measured and custom-made glass will be placed there.

Daniel Carper, Elon University Director for Construction Management, shows the unique glass that will be used inside several areas of IQ2 and Founders Hall, Thursday, January 13, 2022. (Rob Brown photo)

For the main entrance, there will be special reflective glass that blocks out visibility from the outside and changes colors when viewed from different angles. The floors will be made of Italian tiles. 

“This project is pretty complex because of all the systems that we’re putting into it. This is more than your average office building or classroom with the lab spaces and different systems that we have to put in. But it’s a been a fun one to work on,” he said.

Bricklayers at work on Founders Hall, Thursday, January 13, 2022. (Rob Brown photo)

Founders Hall: Focused on Prefabrication & Prototyping

Founders Hall will be 20,000 square feet and designed as a space for engineering students and faculty to turn ideas into prototypes. This two-story workshop will be a hub for innovation and the backbone of Elon’s engineering curriculum, featuring large and open workspaces. It will include:

  • A working environment where students have access to the most advanced engineering equipment;
  • A design lab for upper-level engineering courses;
  • Advanced prototyping labs;
  • Astrophysics lab;
  • Prefabrication labs outfitted with the tools for students to turn designs into prototypes;
  • Mechatronics and virtual reality labs;
  • A two-story assembly space emphasizing project-based learning and building;
    Student engagement spaces.
IQ2 facing what will be an open courtyard along N. O’Kelly Ave. Thursday, January 13, 2022. (Rob Brown photo)

IQ 2: Focused on Discovery & Design

IQ2 will be 40,000 square feet. The three-story facility will be the home for cross-disciplinary studies, equipment and research in biomedicine, computer science, physics and robotics. With Founders Hall, it will visually connect the Dalton L. McMichael Science Center on one side to Richard W. Sankey Hall and Ernest A. Koury Business Center on the other – solidifying the connection of science to entrepreneurship, sales, design thinking and analytics. It features cutting-edge flexible classroom spaces and undergraduate research laboratories that enhance experiential learning opportunities, including:

  • A biophysics classroom and bioinstrumentation lab;
  • An open lab for core engineering coursework;
  • Senior design lab for physics;
  • Environmental engineering research lab;
  • Physics classrooms/labs;
  • Biomedical and environmental labs;
  • Conferencing area and student engagement spaces;
  • Faculty office suites with collaboration areas on all three floors.