Photo Journey: Buildings of the School of Pharmacy

Learn about the eight buildings the School has called home throughout the years

Story by Ryan McDaniel | Published July 3, 2023

From the founding of the School of Pharmacy in 1897 to today, the School has occupied eight buildings across two campuses. Go through this photo journey to learn how the School progressed from a single floor of a mid-19th century building to over 400,000 square feet and some of the most modern spaces at UNC.

New West: 1897 - 1912

The first home of the School of Pharmacy was a lecture room and two additional rooms on the ground floor of New West. The School soon outgrew this space and was expanded to the entire ground floor of the building. At the time, New West was already one of the older buildings on campus, built starting in 1857. In the floors above the School were dorm rooms and the Dialectic Literary Society's hall.

Person Hall: 1912 - 1925

As early as 1905, University President Venable listed a new building for pharmacy as a university need, earmarking $20,000 for it (about $690,000 in 2023 dollars). The School was finally able to expand into a new space in 1912. When the School of Medicine moved from Person Hall to Caldwell Hall, the School of Pharmacy took over their old space in Person Hall. Person Hall gave the School three lecture rooms, four laboratories, a prescription room, an office, a coat-and-hat room, and a small library, which also housed a desk and chair serving as Dean Howell's office.

Howell Hall: 1925 - 1959

After once more outgrowing their space, the School of Pharmacy moved to a building recently vacated by the Department of Chemistry. The building totaled 35 rooms and 22,000 square feet, finally providing adequate space for the School. The building was simply known as "the pharmacy building" until 1931, when the university's Board of Trustees voted to rename the building Howell Hall in honor of Dean Howell, just a few months after his death.

Beard Hall: 1959 - Present

In May, 1958 the University broke ground for a new building for the School of Pharmacy. The building gave the School just over 69,000 square feet of space including various types of laboratories, classrooms, offices, a museum, a library, and a greenhouse. Students moved into the new building in November, 1959 and it was officially dedicated in April, 1960. It wasn't until February, 1961 that the building was officially named Beard Hall in honor of the School's second dean. Beard Hall remains the "home" of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy today.

Kerr Hall: 2002 - Present

Kerr Hall was first conceived of as an addition to Beard Hall called the Beard Hall Annex. A state appropriation raised $10 million of the needed $18 million to construct the building. The remaining $8 million was raised through the efforts of the Pharmacy Foundation, several key alumni, corporate donors, and over 4,000 individual contributions, including $2 million from Banks D. Kerr, class of 1943 alum and founder of Kerr Drug. Groundbreaking for the new 65,000 square foot building began in October, 1998 with the building completed and occupied in January, 2002.

Genetic Medicine Building: 2008 - Present

Groundbreaking on the Genetic Medicine Building began in February, 2005. The building was a collaboration between the School of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine, creating new space for laboratories for pharmacy, pharmacology, genetics and biochemisty and biophysics. At the time of completion, it was one of the largest buildings on campus - seven stories and more than 330,000 square feet. The School of Pharmacy occupies just over 190,000 square feet of the building.

Karpen Hall: 2011 - Present

Recognizing a need to serve Western North Carolina, the School expanded to the UNC Asheville Campus, taking up residency in Karpen Hall. The School's presence in Asheville is unique; students receive the same top-ranked PharmD education as on the Chapel Hill campus but may also augment their studies with the Rural Pharmacy Health Certificate program or the Ambulatory Care Certificate program.

Marsico Hall: 2014 - Present

Funding for Marsico Hall came through state appropriations in 2009 and the building was completed in 2014. Once again, the Eshelman School of Pharmacy shared space in the new building with the School of Medicine. With this latest addition of space in Marsico Hall, the School now occupies over 430,000 square feet for classrooms, lecture halls, patient simulation rooms, and offices. At the dedication ceremony for Marsico Hall, UNC System President Thomas W. Ross said, "The boundless potential of interdisciplinary research that will take place in these fabulous new labs brings renewed hope for better treatments and eventually cures for . . . a multitude of diseases.”