Voting ends March 15 for the Connect NC bond, which allocates $2 billion for different North Carolina services.
If approved, this bond will grant $1.35 billion for differnt UNC system schools, $350 million for renovations at all 25 community colleges in North Carolina, $75 million will be invested in North Carolina’s state park system, $309 million for modernizing water and sewer infrastructure, $179 million for the National Guard regional facilities and $179 millioin for agriculture. The largest agricultural investment in North Carolina history.
“This bond package is critical for [UNC Charlotte] and, frankly, for the whole UNC system,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees Karen Popp.
UNC Charlotte has accounted for roughly half of the growth in all UNC system schools. However, with such large growth, some areas of campus have fallen behind and are unable to meet the demands of the growing student body.
Currently, 50 percent of all students attending UNC Charlotte are majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. In addition, close to 50 majors require students to take at least one science lab course.
“Currently, every student that comes to UNC Charlotte is in the STEM field at some point, you must take science to graduate,” said Student Body President Mitch Daratony.
This puts the science building in high demand, but without a proper way to facilitate it.
“The materials, the equipment and the classroom, it feels old,” said Daratony. “When you go to many other campuses, you get this innovative, energizing, engaging atmosphere, which I feel we can have with this new science building.”
The $90 million that UNC Charlotte would receive from the bond will be used to construct a new science facility and possibly update the current one: Burson.
The facilities and equipment in Burson have not been updated in several years.
In addition to accounting for roughly half of enrollment growth for all UNC system schools, enrollment at UNC Charlotte has increased 142 percent since Burson was first built.
The bond package is also financially responsible for North Carolina. This bond borrows money at a crucial time when interest rates are lowly than they have ever been in recent years. There is a huge rate of return on for the different North Carolina services that will be affected by the bond package.
This bond will also not introduce any new taxes for the people of North Carolina.
Gov. Patrick McCrory visted campus Oct. 22, 2015, when he first signed and approved the bond. During the signing, McCrory mentioned how important this bond package would be for UNC Charlotte, all UNC system schools and North Carolina as a whole.
North Carolina will hold it’s Presidential Preference Primary March 15. The $2 billion bond referendum is included on the ballot. Voters will have the option to vote “for” or “against” the proposed bond.
All quotes were taken from a series of YouTube videos published on the UNC Charlotte YouTube account.