UNC Charlotte is the fastest growing university in the UNC system, contributing to more than half of the system’s total growth since 2009. The University itself has almost doubled in enrollment in the past decade as well as added numerous on-campus facilities during that time. With the help of increased enrollment and a $90 million bond approved for the University in 2015, UNC Charlotte will expand and grow now more than ever.
The Five-year Capital Construction Plan details the enormous construction effort, highlighting over 40 capital projects, road and utility improvements, core campus building renovations and major new construction that will come to the University. The plan was implemented in 2016 and is scheduled to last until 2021. Some of the projects include the Scott Hall renovations, the Belk Plaza revitalization and the new Facilities Operations and Parking Services Complex located next to North Deck. All of these originated out of the Five-year Capital Construction Plan and are scheduled for completion this month.
New science building to enter next phase of construction
UNC Charlotte has launched its largest and most expensive project, a $101 million science center. The new facility has been in the initial phase of construction since the beginning of September and will be visible on Craver Road in October. The facility will house classrooms and research labs. The project is expected to be finished by November 2020 with an anticipated occupancy date of late 2020. It will be located on the corner of Mary Alexander and Craver Road, where the Parking and Transportation Services and Facilities Operations offices are. Those operations are relocating to a shared building near the light rail.
Payette, a company involved with the design of the science center announced recently that “The design of UNC Charlotte’s new Integrated Science Building reached a major milestone several weeks ago as the team wrapped up Design Development, working closely with our local architects at Clark Nexsen. As part of the Design Development package, the team finished the design and documentation of the building’s exterior envelop, and now will focus on the interior design and lab fit-outs.”
North Tryon entrance to be redesigned
The campus entrance on North Tryon, otherwise known as the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) entrance, will be redesigned to match the entrance on University City Boulevard in South Village. The Division of University Advancement announced the project will include a “UNC Charlotte sign, brick columns and enhancements to pedestrian access.” The project will cost $2.5 million and is already underway, scheduled to be complete by late December. The other entrance to the University located on North Tryon will also be modernized as part of the new hotel and conference center project which was recently approved by the City Council of Charlotte.
Belk Plaza set to open with a ribbon cutting ceremony
The $2 million revitalization of Belk Plaza began construction in spring 2018 and continued over the summer. The project replaces Belk Tower, which was torn down in 2015 due to structural problems. The area will feature a large lawn area, a performance stage and a double-sided foundation. Final inspections are in progress and the ribbon cutting ceremony will take place in the coming weeks.
Admissions and Visitor Center added as enrollment continues to grow
As UNC Charlotte enters the fall semester with one of the largest freshman classes in the University’s history at 3,708 people, the University is in the process of building a new Admissions and Visitor Center. The construction is valued at $8 million. Currently, the roof is being installed and the interior frame completed.
Health and Wellness Center will stay under construction throughout the year
Construction began over the summer on a new $66 million Health and Wellness Center located next to the Popp Martin Student Union. The 160,000-square-foot facility will include aerobic and weight training rooms, group fitness areas, courts, a pool and offices for intramural and recreational programs. The facility has been controversial among students, many of whom say the facility is unnecessary due to the two gyms already on campus; however, university officials say the building addresses a “current shortage of student health and wellness space.” The building is scheduled to be complete in July 2019.
East Village infrastructure project meets new challenges
Last spring, UNC Charlotte began a new project to redesign the roadways in East Campus near Martin Hall in order to to help moderate traffic. The project is currently authorized to spend over $5.5 million with the North Carolina Department of Transportation contributing $500,000 and the City of Charlotte Contributing $1.8 million. The design for the project relies on UNC Charlotte buying a piece of land which is currently owned by Adult Day Care. However, the University is not currently pursuing the land and if they are unable to obtain the property it will negatively impact the project.