Campbell installs 1st electric vehicle charging station on campus, in Harnett County

BUIES CREEK — Last year Robert Schmid, the technical director of the Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine’s simulation laboratory, set out to buy a new car. He dug into the research, looking for a vehicle that would be the most economical and beneficial for his lifestyle, which includes a 25-mile drive to work.

He called Scot Phillips and Randall Johnson in Campbell’s Facilities Management to ask if they had any plans to add an electric vehicle (EV) charging station to campus. It turns that they had been working on making that happen for close to a year.

Phillips, the director of facilities, and Johnson, the associate director of facilities, had attended a conference in 2013 when they heard a presentation on EV charging stations. They both left the presentation thinking Campbell needed one.

“The world is changing,” Phillips said. “We want to get ahead of this, not be behind it.”

In October, Facilities Management installed an EV charging station on main campus in the parking lot behind the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center. It’s not only the first charging station at Campbell; it’s the first one installed in Harnett County and among the first installed on any private college or university campus in North Carolina.

“Campbell has many different programs that support environmental initiatives,” said Jim Roberts, Campbell’s vice president for business and treasurer. “The use of electric vehicles is going to blossom in the coming years and we need to be on the forefront of this technology. I am pleased we were able to make this addition to our campus.”

Campbell faculty, staff, students, alumni and visitors, as well as to residents of Harnett County, can use the EV charging station for free, he said, adding it costs the university only about 25 cents each time a vehicle receives a full charge.

On the morning of Friday, Oct. 17, when the EV charging station went live, Schmid became the first person to use it. “When I was making the decision about which car to purchase, knowing this was coming to Campbell made a difference in which car I decided to go with,” he said.

Schmid said his 2014 Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in-Hybrid can travel about 22 miles in complete electric mode, without any gas, before needing to be recharged. It gets about 68 miles per gallon and can take between two or three hours to be fully re-charged.

“I’m very appreciative that Campbell has done this,” he said. “It’s a great new service that the university provides. It will help me and others at Campbell, and it helps the environment.”

Phillips said that the EV charging station expands Facilities Management’s sustainability initiatives. In recent years, those efforts have included replacing old windows with energy-efficient windows, installing more energy-efficient boilers and chillers, installing motion-activated lighting that automatically turns off when no activity is detected, and switching to electric-powered utility carts. “The charging station is part of our move toward more sustainability,” Phillips said.

He added that at least two more charging stations are already being planned to be added at Campbell, including one on the Health Science Campus, where the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences is located and where Schmid works.

Robert Schmid, left, shows Jim Roberts an app where Campbell University had been added as the site of an electric vehicle charging station on the same morning the station went live. Schmid, technical director of the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine’s simulation laboratory, was the first person to use the charging station. Roberts, Campbell’s vice president for business and treasuer, said the university added an EV charging station to complement its sustainability efforts and to be on the forefront of emerging technologies.