ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) broke ground on its new drone facility Wednesday.

The new, open-air outdoor Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is set to become the only one of its kind in North Carolina. The area will mimic real-world flying conditions as students train for future careers in the growing industry of UAS that is expected to create 170,000 jobs by 2025.

The MacKenzie Scott Foundation funded for the 100’ wide x 250’ long x 50’ high open-air netted drone pavilion.  In November 2020, ECSU received a historic gift from Scott, and the university invested $1.5M of those funds for the UAS facility.

ECSU offers the only four-year Aviation Science Degree in North Carolina with its campus located amid military facilities in southeast Virginia, the U.S. Coast Guard based in Elizabeth City, and the Tidewater and Albemarle regions.

SKA Consulting Engineers of Greensboro, NC, designed the facility.  The A.R. Chesson Construction Company of Elizabeth City is building the pavilion, which is expected to be completed late this summer.