Note: The JCRA launched a new Web site on March 1. Please visit us at This site,, is no longer being updated.

Ruby C. McSwain Education Center

Ruby C. McSwain Education CenterThe Ruby C. McSwain Education Center is an exceptional facility designed to enhance the educational activities at the JC Raulston Arboretum. The center houses the York Auditorium, staff offices, volunteer office, membership office, and headquarters for the Garden Club of North Carolina.

Many exciting teaching and research gardens surround the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center. A few areas to enjoy include the Asian Valley, Scree Garden, Xeric Garden, and Contemplation Garden. The existing Perennial Border connects to the rooftop via the Geophyte Border, leading visitors to the A. E. Finley Foundation Rooftop Terrace which features the first green roof at NC State University.

Sustainable Design

The Ruby C. McSwain Education Center and the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center use energy efficient geothermal wells for their heating and cooling needs. Geothermal wells draw heat from, or release heat to, the earth, which has moderate temperatures year round. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal units reduce energy consumption by 44%–72% over conventional systems.

Additional sustainable features include insulation from NC State University's first green roof; low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants; use of local materials, including native wood siding; extensive daylighting designed to penetrate deep into the building; energy-efficient windows; paints with low volatile organic compounds; and poured-concrete walls.

Other sustainable features include: NC State's first green roof; poured-concrete walls; use of local materials; low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants; deep penetrating daylighting; energy-efficient windows; and paints with low volatile organic compounds.

10th Anniversary Celebration

The JC Raulston Arboretum celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the $4.2 million Ruby C. McSwain Education Center on September 21 and 22, 2012. It was dedicated on September 21, 2002, and since that time it has been an outstanding resource for the Arboretum and the community. Thousands of meetings, anniversaries, retirement parties, classes, and events have taken advantage of this new facility.

Dedication Ceremony Movie

The Ruby C. McSwain Education Center was dedicated on September 21, 2002. To help celebrate the center's dedication, a movie was created highlighting its construction, the construction of the other buildings at the JCRA, and various events during the two years the McSwain Center was under construction. The movie has been posted to the Web site for everyone to view. It requires Macromedia's Flash plug-in and is 6+ minutes long, has a sound track, and requires a 5.6 MB download. Click here to view the movie. The presentation will replay in a continuous loop.

Ground-breaking Ceremony – December 20, 2000 – 2:00 PM

NC State Breaks Ground on Ruby C. McSwain Education Center - By Art Latham, CALS Communication Services

Ground-breaking Ceremony Photograph Galleries

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