Energy-Efficient, Flexible Business Incubator Wins Engineering Excellence Award
PORTAL services emerging businesses on the UNC Charlotte campus
McKim & Creed, Inc. has won a 2016 Engineering Excellence Grand Award for its work on UNC Charlotte’s Partnership, Outreach, and Research to Accelerate Learning (PORTAL), a business incubator and corporate innovation center that offers a unique and flexible environment for emerging businesses.
The award was presented by the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina at its annual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala, held in Raleigh on November 5, and was the top award given in the Building/Technology Systems category.
The $24-million, 96,000-square-foot PORTAL provides business support services and research partnership opportunities for entrepreneurial and early-stage businesses. The facility was designed by LaBella Associates, with McKim & Creed providing engineering services that enhance energy efficiency and accommodate the building’s flexibility.
“PORTAL is a beautiful example of how form and function in a building can work together in perfect harmony,” said Jennifer L. Price, PE, construction manager with UNC Charlotte. “Within this building, there were many engineering challenges to overcome: a cafe that sits above a secured area, adjustable walls to allow for flexibility of tenant spaces, conference rooms housed within glass partitions that sit in ‘bridges’ across the main atrium, and so many more, all the while having to meet the mandate of an energy reduction per the State of North Carolina. McKim & Creed, working in conjunction with Pease (LaBella), overcame these challenges and worked with the design and construction team to deliver a building that not only meets the form that the University needed and desired, but also functions efficiently throughout all the systems. It was a pleasure working with the McKim & Creed team and I look forward to future projects with them.”
“This is a truly innovative facility that encourages conversation and collaboration, and McKim & Creed is proud to have been a part of it,” said John Lucey, PE, president and CEO of McKim & Creed.
PORTAL opened in January 2014 and was completed for $1.4 million under budget. Currently, the facility houses 24+ businesses, and has become a popular event space, hosting more than 50 major events within the past year.
UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university and is among the fastest growing universities in the UNC system. More than 27,000 students attend UNC Charlotte.