Johnson & Wales University “Breaks Ground” On New $40 Million Engineering and Science Academic Center

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Johnson & Wales University (JWU) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new $40 million engineering and science academic center on Wednesday, April 22.

Johnson & Wales University (JWU) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new $40 million engineering and science academic center on Wednesday, April 22.

Johnson & Wales becomes the first shovel in the ground for land made available by the re-alignment of Interstate-195. JWU’s new academic building, which will be located at the corner of Friendship and Chestnut streets in Providence, is scheduled to be completed in July 2016. It is being built on a parcel of land the university purchased in 2012.

“It has long been our hope that our plans for these parcels of land would serve as a catalyst for other private development to follow,” said JWU Chancellor John Bowen. “We encourage others to come forward and invest in the City of Providence and State of Rhode Island. I know this is the wish of everyone here this morning.”

“The students who will be educated in this new academic building will be prepared for the jobs that our leaders are trying to attract to this knowledge district,” said JWU Providence Campus President and CEO Mim Runey. “Johnson & Wales tries to anticipate market demand for college graduates. That’s why we started Rhode Island’s first physician assistant program. We are continuing our journey into the health sciences by introducing a biology major this fall.”

When completed, the three-story building will have a graphic design studio and innovation, robotics, and network simulation labs, as well as biology, anatomy, physics, physiology and chemistry labs.
As with many of the university’s other recent construction projects, this new academic building has been designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

“The building we are constructing represents the future,” said Marie Bernardo-Sousa, JWU senior vice president of administration, “the future of Johnson & Wales as we expand our science, technology, and engineering programs; the future areas of the workforce where our graduates will begin and grow their careers; and the future of State of Rhode Island as we begin development on the former I-195 land.”

Facts about the new academic building:

  •     Construction Manager: Dimeo Construction Co, Providence, RI
  •     Architect: Edward Rowse Architects, Providence, RI; Architectural Resources Cambridge, Cambridge, MA
  •     LEED Consultant: Thorton Tomasetti, Boston, MA
  •     Square footage: 71,000 feet
  •     Project budget: $40 million (design and total building construction, equipment and furnishings)

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 16,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its four campuses in Providence, R.I.; North Miami, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Charlotte, N.C. An innovative educational leader, the university offers degree programs in arts and sciences, business, culinary arts, education, nutrition, hospitality, physician assistant studies, engineering and design. Its unique model integrates arts and sciences and industry-focused education with work experience and leadership opportunities, inspiring students to achieve professional success and lifelong personal growth. The university’s impact is global, with alumni from 119 countries pursuing careers worldwide. For more information, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Madeline Parmenter, 401-598-2752; Cell: 263-5101; Email: madeline.parmenter(at)jwu(dot)edu


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Johnson & Wales University
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