New EXP building opens — an exciting resource for the entire Northeastern community

students attending the first day of class in EXP
The EXP building officially opened to students, faculty and staff on the first day of classes on Northeastern’s Boston campus. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

As a mechanical engineering and design major, first-year undergraduate student Pia Stewart entered the new EXP building with excitement.

“I was watching the construction from afar,” Stewart says. “It’s a really nice space with lots of natural light and new places to sit and study.” 

After three years of construction, the 357,000-square-foot facility on Northeastern University’s Boston campus was opened up to students, faculty and staff for the first time on Wednesday — just in time for the first day of classes.

The new eight-story building on Columbus Avenue features floors of classrooms and research labs, a 15,000-square-foot makerspace, robotics lab, roof terrace and much more.  

Stewart had her first official class as a Northeastern student in the new state-of-the-art building — Cornerstone of Engineering 1 — but it definitely won’t be her last. 

She hopes to check out the new robotics lab in the building that is still being set up. Stewart was the co-captain of a FIRST Robotics Team while in high school. 

“I’m fascinated to see what sorts of projects go on in that space,” she says. 

Stewart was just one of hundreds of students — representing many colleges and academic disciplines — who entered the new building Wednesday.

Sitting at a table in front of the makerspace, first-year student Gavin Sanders was waiting to take one of his first classes — Knowledge in a Digital World. The class didn’t start until the afternoon, but Sanders decided to arrive a few hours early to check out the new building. 

“I was eager to see what it looked like and go up to the roof terrace and see what that looks like,” he says. 

Sanders, who is a computer science major, also was hoping to score a spot in one of the makerspace’s orientation classes to learn how to take advantage of the tools on offer.

You didn’t need to have a class in the EXP to check out the new building. Dylan Steinberg and Jennifer Chung were finishing up their first shifts as mentors at the makerspace.

Steinberg, who is a fifth-year information and graphic design major, said the makerspace is designed to be a resource for the whole Northeastern community. 

“It’s not designated for just one college, so there’s going to be a big melting pot of students from every college, every background, and every age working on really cool projects,” he says.

In the space, students and faculty can take advantage of a range of tools and resources, from 3D printers and woodshops to laser cutters and sewing machines. 

Daniel Wu, a third-year computer science major, really appreciated how many of the study areas of the building had large whiteboard walls students can use to write their ideas. 

“I was planning on having meetings with my friends to do a project and this might be a nice place to do it,” Wu says. 

With sandwiches from Wollaston’s in hand, Everett Dash, a fifth-year mechanical engineering major, and a few of his friends decided to check out the eighth floor of the EXP building to see if they could eat their lunches while sitting on the roof terrace. 

Although that space hasn’t opened yet, Dash and his friends were still impressed by what they saw and decided to eat their lunch at one of the inside tables.

“It’s pretty impressive, honestly,” Dash says. “We were wondering how the space was going to be utilized. It’s not filled out yet, but we’ll see how it progresses.” 

Cesareo Contreras is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @cesareo_r.