Innovation Quarter: Frequently Asked Questions

Why will we be extending the Reynolda Campus to include Building 60 in Innovation Quarter?

The University was presented with a unique opportunity to design space in an old Reynolds Tobacco building (Building 60) for classrooms, teaching labs, and research labs that provide next-generation facilities and innovative Reynolda/Medical School faculty partnerships at more modest costs. The developer, Wexford Scientific, is renovating this like other Innovation Quarter buildings at a considerable discount by taking advantage of tax benefits for historic buildings. They are passing this discount on to the University in the form of a lower rate for a 15-year lease. There will be options to buy the building in the future or continue leasing.

When will the building be finished?

We will take occupancy by the end of December 2016 for classes to begin in January 2017. The Medical School, which will occupy the north half of Building 60, will take occupancy in June 2016.

What else is going on in Innovation Quarter?


Wake Forest School of Medicine moved several basic science departments to Biotech Place (575 North Patterson Ave.) in 2012.

Inmar is a commercial technology and data analytics company who in 2014 established their global headquarters at 635 Vine St.

525@Vine (opened in 2014) is a multipurpose building that houses three School of Medicine departments/degree programs (Public Health Sciences, Nurse Anesthetist, and Physician’s Assistant), Flywheel (office and meeting space for freelancers and startup companies), Forsyth Technical & Community College, and a small YMCA facility, among others.

Bailey Park has become a city-wide destination for summer concerts, movie nights, outdoor yoga, running and bicycling races, and many other events.

Wake Forest School of Medicine will move its medical education program (first two years of medical school) to the north end of Building 60 in July 2016.

Renovation of Bailey Power Plant will begin in coming months; this downtown landmark will house retail, dining, and entertainment venues.

The city is developing a “Rails to Trails” path that will connect Martin Luther King Boulevard (8th Street, the north end of Innovation Quarter) with the Salem Lake Greenway.

What WFU programs will be housed in Building 60S?

New undergraduate programs were developed by faculty in the College in the spring and summer of 2015. Three lab-intensive programs were the first selected; each has enthusiastic faculty supporters, potential for attracting students at the same top quality as current WFU undergraduates, opportunities to work with School of Medicine faculty in research and teaching, and good fit for the laboratory-focused space available. These are:

Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery – a new concentration within the American Chemical Society-certified B.S. in Chemistry. This program was approved at the October 2015 College Faculty meeting.

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology – a new B.S. to be jointly administered between Biology and Chemistry departments. The curriculum has been designed for certification by the American Society of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. This program was approved at the March 2016 College Faculty meeting.

Engineering – WFU faculty have developed various proposals for the last ~25 years to introduce engineering into the undergraduate curriculum. Faculty are proposing a department of Engineering within Division V of the College that would offer a B.S. in general engineering and an optional concentration in biomedical engineering. The curriculum has been designed for certification by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). This program was approved at the March 2016 College Faculty meeting.

Does ABET accredit general engineering degrees?

Yes. There are over 90 ABET-accredited programs in the United States that offer a B.S. in General Engineering.

 Does this curriculum prepare our students to obtain their Professional Engineers (PE) license?

Yes. The PE test is taken after an engineering graduate has worked for several years, but prior to graduation most engineering students will take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam that tests on core engineering courses that are components of the proposed curriculum.

Will other courses be taught in Innovation Quarter besides those for the new programs?

Yes – there will be classrooms available for reservation on a single-class or semester-long basis. Already faculty have requested that they be able to teach specific classes or courses in Innovation Quarter, and such early requests are encouraged so needs can be met.  College faculty are also in continuing conversations, often with medical-school counterparts, about a next phase of degree programs or majors; possibilities include Global Public Health, Entrepreneurship (perhaps centering on biotechnology), and Arts/Design, among others.

Will there be parking in Innovation Quarter?

It is anticipated that the shuttle system will be the preferred mode of transportation for most visitors.  There will be parking available for faculty and staff for whom Building 60 is their primary place of work. Other parking spots will be available for visitors on a more limited basis. A new parking garage will be built to accommodate limited traffic.

 How will students and faculty get between Reynolda Campus and Innovation Quarter in a timely fashion?

A shuttle system will run every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. between sites. We are working to ensure that this shuttle system will be convenient, safe, and easy.

Will there be residence halls in Innovation Quarter?

Not at this time. A new residential apartment building is planned within Innovation Quarter (opposite the location of Biotech Place); this building will be available for senior WFU students wishing to live downtown, but won’t be a WFU residence hall.

How will security be handled?

The shared lobby (between WFU and School of Medicine) will have a security guard around the clock. There will also be sworn campus officers on patrol during anticipated high usage times (expected 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.). The School of Medicine has asked that WFU take a lead in security and they will share the cost. There will be card access throughout the building.

How will Building 60 be managed?

The current plan is that a Building Operations Manager will manage the School of Medicine and WFU space, to ensure the same standard of service and response time students and faculty enjoy on the Reynolda Campus.

Will undergraduate enrollment increase?

Yes, in a carefully planned manner through the 2021-22 academic year, with ~20 new first-year students in Fall 2016.

Will new faculty be hired?

Yes, also in a carefully planned manner through the 2021-22 academic year, in consultation with the Office of the Dean of the College and department chairs. Current projections are that ~10 new faculty (mostly tenure-track faculty) will be hired in the College for the new academic programs described above. ~12 new faculty (mostly tenure-track) will be hired in the College to accommodate new students meeting divisional requirements on the Reynolda Campus.


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