One of the first things people notice about the university is all the construction. Our campus is in the middle of a major facelift, with many new facilities and renovations to be completed in the next few years.
One of the biggest projects is the construction of a $63.5 million dollar Health and Wellness Center, that will be located next to the Student Union. Parking lots 18 and 19 will be permanently closed to make room for the the 140,000 square-foot facility, which will include weight training rooms, group fitness areas, multipurpose courts and a pool. The center is being built to make up for the lack of wellness facilities on campus. Construction is expected to be complete in July 2019.
The expansion of the Union parking deck also began this summer. The $14 million project will add 570 parking spaces to make up for the spaces lost with the closure of lots 18 and 19. The project will be finished by May of next year.
Another notable project is the construction of a student counseling center. Currently located in Atkins Library, counselors will be relocated to a new facility next to the Student Health Center. The facility includes individual meeting rooms, as well as rooms for group therapy. The project is scheduled to be completed this fall.
UNC Charlotte is also in the planning stages of its biggest project ever: a $90 million science building. The cutting-edge facility will include classrooms and research labs for the biology, chemistry and physics departments. The building will be located at the corner of Mary Alexander and Craver Roads. The design is still in progress, but the project is scheduled to be complete by late 2020.
In addition, plans for the new-and-improved Belk Plaza are expected to take effect this month. The design includes the addition of a “great lawn,” a fountain and a raised terrace off of Colvard. Developers want this to serve as the central meeting space for students on campus.
“We created a palate that would accommodate just about anything,” said Adam Martin, an associate with LandDesign, in an interview last year. LandDesign is the company in charge of the plans for the revitalized area.
Quite a few minor projects are slated to be complete in the next few years as well.
Renovations to Burson and Denny are expected to be complete in the next few months. You can expect to see a much more modern design on the outside of these buildings, along with improved air conditioning circulation on the inside.
Wireless access points are also being installed throughout campus to increase Wi-Fi coverage. The access points are designed so that students can connect to the internet at outdoor spaces around campus.
While the construction of new facilities is beneficial to the university, campus officials are aware of the short-term problems it can cause.
“Facilities management is working through an unprecedented level of construction,” said Phil Jones, associate vice chancellor for facilities management, in an interview earlier this year. “The goal is to do our best to ease the challenges and facilitate smooth transitions in the months ahead. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work together through an exceptional series of construction projects that will enrich the campus upon completion.”
Photos by Norah Alorainy and Chimena Ihebuzor.