Chancellor Philip Dubois welcomed new members of the UNC Board of Governors to campus Sept. 22 with a bus tour. During the tour, he mentioned some of UNC Charlotte’s current and future projects as the university attempts to accomodate its growing population.
As the bus passed through South Village, Dubois pointed out that renovations being made to residence halls, Scott and Moore. The renovations will feature new study spaces, increased privacy in bathrooms and updated bricks.
“You want to make sure your campus is as attractive as it can be,” Dubois said.
The renovations will drop the hall’s occupancy from 500 to 400 students.
Also in South Village, the original dining hall is being repurposed for catering operations and housing and residence life offices. Relocating these offices to the repurposed structure will create more living space for students in residence halls, where the offices currently are.
Next to the tennis courts, the university is planning to build a new undergraduate admissions office. This building will cater to visitors, so they no longer have to travel to the inside of campus and compete with faculty and students for parking in order to take a tour.
Across from the greenhouse, construction is underway for a new $90 million science building that will be completed in fall 2020. The buildings on that land, including PATS office, will be relocated to the north side of campus near North Deck. Inside the new building, there will be a data center that will protect the university’s IT assets and a regional utility plant.
The university is expanding the Student Union parking deck to make up for lost spaces due to the construction of the Health and Wellness Center, a $65 million fitness center, slated to open July 2019.
With the growth of the university, preferable parking has become a concern for the community. Dubois said the university is trying to “train” staff, faculty and students to park at North Deck and ride the shuttle into campus. The university is waiting to see if the light rail will “bail them out” of their parking issue or if they will need to build another parking deck, Dubois said. He wants to keep infrastructure, such as parking decks, on the perimeter of campus.
“We don’t want to use precious campus land for parking,” he said.
3. Light Rail
Dubois is hoping the completion of the light rail will attract more people to campus, especially for events such as football games.
“This is a major piece of infrastructure,” Dubois said. “If you’ve been to universities with light rail systems- like the University of Utah, University of Minnesota and San Diego State- they are transformational to those campuses.”
In March, students will have unlimited rides on the light rail, due to a $50 fee being added to tuition. The light rail will arrive on campus every seven minutes during peak hours, 103 times a day. The station will be quiet enough not to disturb students in residence halls across the street, Dubois said.
To patrol the station, more officers will be added to campus police next year.
Since the ride to UNC Charlotte Center City is only 22 minute, more undergraduate programs will be held at that campus.
Passing by the athletic fields, Dubois noted the university had their largest attendance in football history on Sept. 15.
With the establishment of the football team five years ago, the university is required to add more women athletics. This year, women’s golf began its first season. In the near future, athletics will add women’s swimming, beach volleyball and potentially one other sport.
4. Long-Term Goals
One of Dubois’ long-term goals is to construct a building for the music department with a 1,000 seat performance space. Currently, Robinson Hall’s performance space fits only 300 people.
The UNC Charlotte Foundation is in the final stages of making a decision to build a full service Marriott hotel with 15,000 square feet of conference space on campus.
“We think we can get a lot of southeastern academic socieities to come to this campus if we offer that kind of amenity,” he said.
Dubois asked UNC Board of Governors to, eventually, consider helping fund a $22 million building to house both the Charlotte Engineering Early College and the Charlotte Teacher Early College (CTEC). The CTEC began its first classes, with 55 high school students, this August. The building would be on the Charlotte Research Institute campus, between EPIC and Grigg halls.