Our team recently celebrated the topping out of our Alfred W. Harris Academic Commons facility project on VSU’s campus in Petersburg, Virginia.
Renovating, restoring and expanding HBCU campuses across the country
Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are higher education institutions established primarily to serve the African American community in the United States. Founded in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with some dating back to before the Civil War, HBCUs were initially established to provide education for formerly enslaved individuals and free Black Americans who were denied access to predominantly white institutions at the time.
These institutions have a rich history and have played a significant role in providing access to higher education for Black students, particularly during segregation where limited opportunities were available in mainstream institutions.
Today, there are more than 100 HBCUs in the U.S., and they have produced notable alums who have significantly contributed to various fields, including politics, civil rights, business, sports and the arts. Prominent figures including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Oprah Winfrey and Vice President Kamala Harris all attended HBCUs. Many of the people who work in our offices and on our jobsites, as well as the individuals we partner with across the country are also graduates of HBCUs.
Constructing and renovating HBCU campuses across the country
Working in the construction industry, we are proud to add to the rich and storied history of HBCUs. Skanska has completed 13 projects at nine HBCUs across the country, including:
- Clark Atlanta University – Atlanta, Georgia
- Florida A&M University – Tallahassee, Florida
- Lincoln University – Lincoln University, Pennsylvania
- Meharry Medical College – Nashville, Tennessee
- North Carolina A&T State University – Greensboro, North Carolina
- Winston-Salem State University – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- Saint Augustine’s University – Raleigh, North Carolina
- Prairie View A&M University – Prairie View, Texas
- The Alamo Colleges, St. Philip’s College – San Antonio, Texas
“I’m a proud graduate of North Carolina A&T and emerged well-educated and prepared to thrive in the construction industry. The cultural system, support, relationships, and sense of belonging that I experienced carried over into my working career and I feel a sense of pride each time we build and continue the history of these institutions,” said Emmanuel Yelverton, EHS manager at Skanska.
Currently, our Durham team is working on the largest project ever constructed on Virginia State University’s (VSU) campus: the new 175,000 square-foot Alfred W. Harris Academic Commons facility. This facility will replace Harris Hall and Daniel Gymnasium, consolidating the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Education into one cutting-edge complex.
VSU is home to many notable figures who have played pivotal roles in driving our society forward. Dr. John Mercer Langston, a prominent abolitionist, and the first president of VSU, was the first African American elected to congress in the United States. His legacy continues to inspire generations of students at VSU and beyond.
Historically Black colleges and universities have a history rooted in resilience, community and academic excellence. They remain vital in providing quality education and supporting underrepresented minority students in communities. We are honored to build at HBCUs and celebrate their contributions to our efforts to build for a better society.