Jacob Baum

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Jacob is a former UNC Charlotte SGA Class President and current member of the UNC Charlotte Student Government Organization. He is from Kernersville, NC and majoring in Political Science.

UNC Charlotte crime at record lows

UNC Charlotte recently published its 2017 Annual Security and Fire Safety report highlighting some of the lowest crime rates on campus in almost a decade. The annual report is created by the University Police & Public Safety Office with data submitted by various campus departments including Legal Affairs, Title IX, Housing & Residence Life, Environmental Health & Safety and the Counseling Center.

The report begins with a statement from Chancellor Philip Dubois: “It is up to each one of us to help foster a secure and supportive environment at UNC Charlotte — an environment where individuals can feel safe to visit, learn, work and live.”

The crime statistics in the report show that alcohol violations have dropped 57.66 percent since 2011. In 2011, alcohol violations reached an all-time high of 1025 violations for that year alone. UNC Charlotte reported record-low numbers in 2017 with 434 alcohol violations.

Drug violations have dropped 42.42 percent since 2012 but increased this past year. The amount of drug violations on campus peaked in 2012 with 330 cases and dropped to a low in 2015 with just 85 violations. Drug use is the only violation to increase on campus this year. In 2016, UNC Charlotte had 105 drug violations while last year UNC Charlotte had 190 drug violations.

The Crime Statistics in the report also show that forcible sex offenses or rape at UNC Charlotte are down 73.91 percent. In 2014, data shows the University had 46 counts of forcible sex or rape and in 2017 that number was 12.

Another highlight of the report shows that burglary at UNC Charlotte has decreased drastically since 2010. In 2010, there were 154 reported cases of burglary while in 2017 there were only 33 reported cases.

On-campus arson has also dropped 77.78 percent, with nine reported arson cases in 2010 and just two in 2017.

The widespread decrease in crime may be attributed to the The Police and Public Safety Department, which has a total of 55 sworn and 10 non-sworn employees as well as part-time personnel and student employees.

The Chief of Police, Jeffrey Baker, responded to the report detailing the record-low crime by saying, “I credit the results to some of the finest police officers I have had the pleasure to serve with at UNC Charlotte. They are 100% dedicated to providing our campus with the highest levels of safety and security possible.”

Baker also pointed out that crime has decreased while total enrollment has grown tremendously, an uncommon trend for rapidly growing communities.

In addition to new police initiatives, UNC Charlotte also has implemented the free “Live Safe” application for smartphones. The application provides immediate mobile access to police, fire and medical services. Safety features include buddy walks and access to safety tips. The service allows students to submit tips and communicate with the Police and Public Safety Department in real time.

UNC Charlotte’s police department has also recently been able to hold unique breaching exercises in on-campus buildings scheduled for demolition. Every UNC Charlotte police car is equipped with a standard breaching kit.

To read the full 2017 Security and Fire safety report, click here.

 

Da click aquí para la versión en español de este artículo.

 

President of the UNC System to step down

Margaret Spellings, the President of the UNC System, will step down effective March 1, 2019 according to the Board of Governors chairman Harry Smith.

The Board of Governors, which oversees 17 North Carolina universities, announced an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss “personal matters.”

That emergency meeting took place Friday morning at the UNC System Office located in Chapel Hill, lasting just over two hours in a closed, executive session.

After the meeting, the Board of Governors announced that Margaret Spellings will resign her duties effective March 1st, 2019 — just three years into her five year contract with the UNC System.

When asked about her departure from the UNC System at a press conference Friday, Spellings said, “It was the right time for me.”

Spellings went on to add, “I came into this position intent on creating a culture of higher expectations and that shift is underway. But times change and those changes demand new leaders and new approaches.”

In the Board of Governors emergency meeting Friday, they agreed to a payment package in which she will receive a salary until March 1st along with a $500,000 payout and $35,000 in relocation expenses. Spellings will also receive a $77,500 retirement package.

The Board of Governors, appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly, now has to find a replacement for the 28 member group.

The Board has faced many struggles over the past few months. They came under fire this summer when they delayed in finding a candidate for the Western Carolina Chancellor position. For many weeks, the Board was dead-locked in “heated discussion.”

The struggles in the Board of Governors led to policy changes in the past months to help improve operations.

The next board meeting is scheduled for November 9 at the UNC System Office in Chapel Hill.

When asked about the situation, the Chancellor’s Office at UNC Charlotte was not immediately available to return a comment on the situation.

2018 Campus Construction Update

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.” 

Science Building

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.

North Tryon Entrance

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.

Belk Plaza

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.

Health and Wellness Center

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.

A solution to the parking pandemonium

Parking on campus is often a challenge according to students like sophomore Eli Medford (‘21) who has to commute each day to class. Medford described parking on campus as a “hunt for a parking space.” The challenge to find parking persists after UNC Charlotte has spent millions of dollars in the past decade to correct the problem. The University most recently completed the expansion of the Student Union Parking Deck. This expansion project alone provided the University community with almost 700 additional parking spaces to make up for the loss of Parking Lot 19 after it was demolished to build the University Recreation Center. This project cost nearly $14.5 million dollars.

Last spring a group of students sought to resolve the on-campus parking crisis. Computer science students Taylor Atkins, Dillon Brys, Kevin Huynh, Michael Long and John Sorensen designed a parking availability app for their class project intended to help students locate campus parking based on real-time data that Parking and Transportation Services already has access too. The project was completed and functional in May when the code was turned over to Parking and Transportation services in June to polish and launch and revamped by Facilities Information Systems for a production environment.  The University is now wrapping up final testing according to Doug Lape, the Director of Parking and Transportation Services, who is excited to launch the program.

Lape commented “I’m really excited to get these features launched.  These are things that our customers have been asking for and we’re happy to deliver.”  

Lape went on to add that Parking and Transportation Services hopes to launch this new program by the end of September. The mobile-friendly program will also allow customers to see the percentage of spaces available in all campus parking decks, gated and ungated. Another phase of the project will be a pilot test program for parking availability in surface lots, starting with Lots 4A, 5 and 5A. This phase of the project still needs approval.

This program aims to provide students with the real-time data the school already has access to and make parking more efficient for students, staff and visitors to campus. The app should solve problems like overcrowding in certain lots while other lots have available spots.  

Sophomore Eli Medford can’t wait for the new program to launch. Medford said, “I think it will be great for students who commute and need to park quickly near the academic buildings and get to class, rather than have to hunt for parking and be late for class.”

Another Sophomore, James Hooven is also excited for the new program. Hooven said “it’s going to be helpful, and a time saver to avoid going to parking decks that are already full.”

This fall semester more students are utilizing services offered by Parking and Transportation Services like the on-campus bus system, but due to higher demand buses are often over capacity during peak times. The light rail is also operating for the first full school year after opening last spring. These public transportation options and new regulations on parking decks (for instance, South Deck is now only available to students with a resident permit), have helped relieve demand for parking across campus.

The Board of Trustees increased the cost of parking permits this past spring despite already being one of the most expensive in the UNC System. This student-developed program will attempt to ensure that students get the parking they paid for.

 

Haven49 remains untenable


Photos by Pooja Pasupula.

Update Three, Sept. 25: The opening of Haven49 has been delayed a fifth time to Oct. 6. Owner Jay Williams told residents in an email, “…we now believe it is potentially unlikely that we will receive our Certificate of Occupancy before Sept. 29.” However, a construction worker on the project who wishes to remain anonymous told Niner Times that the move-in date will be Oct. 13 at the earliest. The same worker attributed the delays to “shit management on behalf of Spire,” the construction company assigned to the project. According to the Victims of Haven49 Facebook page, Haven49 had already booked residents’ hotel rooms through Oct. 6 before the complex was delayed for a fifth time. The students currently living in Holiday Inn, Springhill Suites and Courtyard Marriott have to be relocated to different hotels due to an reserved rooms in anticipation of the NASCAR race this weekend.

Update Two, Sept. 18: Haven49 emailed residents on the evening of Sept. 18 to inform them that the move-in date will be postponed for a fourth time, now opening on Sept. 29. The email explained that Hurricane Florence delayed the construction crew after several workers returned home to be with their families and others were deployed by the County. The project still has 141 outstanding holds.

Update, Sept. 11: Haven49 updated their website by 9:20 a.m. on Sept. 11 to announce that the move-in is once again postponed, this time to Sept. 22. Residents were informed via email at 11:43 a.m. The email cited Hurricane Florence as a reason for the new delay.

 

Hundreds of students are forced to find alternative housing after apartment complex Haven49 once again delayed its opening, this time promising housing by Sept. 15. The first delay postponed the move-in date from August 15 to August 31.

Haven49 is a 887-bed/332-unit, mid-rise apartment complex intended to house UNC Charlotte students. It is owned and developed by Haven Campus Communities and is the newest off-campus housing addition to the University community. The fall launch of Haven49 was widely anticipated and was to provide residents with state of the art technology and facilities, including a fitness center, tanning room, resort-style pool and cabanas.

UNC Charlotte junior Maria Cruzat is one of the many affected by the delays.  

“Due to construction patterns in Charlotte, I am not too surprised by the delays,” Cruzat told the Niner Times. “I understand that no parties favor this situation, but I would have liked for Haven49 to be more transparent about the status of the apartment.”

After the initial delay to August 31, students were given two options for compensation. They could put their August rent towards a hotel room with transportation provided to and from campus along with a $500 Visa gift card, or they could find alternative housing, receive a $1,000 stipend and push rent payment back to Sept. Rent is roughly $650. After the second delay to Sept. 15, those living in hotels can choose to receive $250 per week until move-in or apply their Sept. rent payment to October. Some of these students have been assigned to a hotel near Concord Mills without any provided transportation to campus. Those who continue to find other living accommodations will receive the $250 per week and have their rent payment pushed back to October.

For many, the help is not quite enough. Because residents do not have the access they anticipated to certain facilities, they are forced to eat out, pay for laundry service, and even find storage for their belongings.

One parent told WSOCTV, “I think it borders on criminal. I really do.”

Another student created a Facebook page called “Victims of Haven49.”

Many are confused by the inconspicuous cause of the construction delays. Peter Jakel, Public Relations Representative for Haven49, offered an explanation: “Construction projects are very complex and each stage affects the timing of the next stage, and in many cases you’re able to make up lost time in future stages. So it’s unfortunately impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of any delay.”

County records show that the building has 138 outstanding holds – the parking garage alone has seven –and several failed inspections. A hold is placed on a project until certain requirements are met and the project cannot pass its final inspection until these are fulfilled. The complex failed an inspection on August 16, a day after students were originally expected to move in. This inspection has yet to be passed. However, the building does have all of its necessary permits. Students will not be able to move in until a final inspection is passed and a certificate of occupancy is issued. According to county data, the construction has cost Haven49 $19,182,300 to date.

Mecklenburg County Officials stated via email, “the project is currently under active construction but still has multiple holds from county and city agencies before a certificate of occupancy can be issued.”

Haven49 owner Jay Williams stated “we certainly have not made this easy, and for that, I am sorry.”

Photo by Pooja Pasupula

University mourns the loss of Polly Rogers

UNC Charlotte student Polly Rogers was riding a party bus to Uptown when she fell out of the emergency window and then was struck by two vehicles. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police say.

Rogers recently celebrated her 20th birthday and was a sophomore. She was studying special education and was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

At Zeta Tau Alpha, the chapter president Alexis Burns described Rogers as an emerging leader and “the friendliest person you would ever meet in your life.”

“She could always be found in the common areas of the house greeting sisters after their day at classes and making sure their day was going great,” Bruns said in a statement.

Over $13,000 was raised on a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses in less than a day. Organizers stopped accepting donations after they almost doubled the goal amount of $7,000.

The death of Rogers has prompted a full investigation and led to the suspension of Kappa Sigma, one UNC Charlotte’s longest-standing fraternities. Authorities are trying to determine if the emergency window inside the bus broke or if someone opened it from the inside.  

The Charlotte Party Charter bus was rented by the UNC Charlotte chapter of Kappa Sigma and was taking 55 to 60 people from the off-campus fraternity house to a bar in Uptown when around 10:30 p.m., Rogers fell out of an emergency window on the bus into the middle lane of a street and was struck by two vehicles.

While it is unclear if alcohol was a factor in the incident, alcohol was on the bus, according to police. According to state law,  there shouldn’t have been alcohol on the bus since there were underage riders.

After learning of the details and involvement Kappa Sigma had to the incident, fraternity officials suspended their operations at UNC Charlotte. 

The chapter declined to comment on the investigation; however, the national Kappa Sigma Executive Director Mitchell Wilson released a statement, saying, “The Brothers of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Polly Rogers. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Rogers family and to her loved ones. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity has suspended the operations of our Kappa-Omega Chapter at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and we are in the process of conducting an investigation of the event on Tuesday evening. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity will fully cooperate with all investigations of the university and local authorities.”

Kevin Bailey, the vice chancellor for student affairs released a statement to the university community the following the incident saying, I write you today with a heavy heart. It is with deep sadness that I share we lost a member of our community late last night. Sophomore Polly Rogers was killed in a traffic accident on Tryon Street.As we begin to understand the circumstances surrounding Polly’s sudden passing, we also reflect on her life and her time with us. Polly was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and was studying special education in the Cato College of Education. Her professors describe her as warm and caring, as do others who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

Students are planning a vigil at UNC Charlotte this Sunday at 5 p.m. to remember the life of Rogers.  

The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Parking permits prices will raise over next two years

This article has been updated to clarify that a 6 percent increase in parking permits was only a suggestion and the exact increase is undecided. In addition, PaTS will be adding a discount remote permit for North Deck in the fall 2018. 

Photo by Chimena Ihebuzor.

The Board of Trustees heard a conceptual plan at their April meeting to raise parking permit costs by 6 percent in the next year or two.

A 6 percent change in parking permits would bring resident permits from $450 to $477, a $27 dollar increase per resident. The exact increase is undecided.

Beth Hardin, vice chancellor for business affairs, spoke on the proposed increase explaining why it is necessary for the university.

“The cost of parking has not gone up in four years,” Hardin told Niner Times in an email. “During that time, operating and administrative costs have continued to rise. Additionally, in 2017-2018, PaTS committed more than $24 million to provide additional services for customers, including the expansion of Union Deck and Lot Eight and parking and permit management hardware and software. These funds came from reserves that must be replenished.”

Hardin added, “There are times when the administration must make fiscally necessary decisions — even if the decision is likely to be unpopular. This is one of those times. We are, however, mindful of costs to our students and employees, which is why we have not raised permit prices in four years and plan only a modest increase this year.”

According to Hardin, there has not been a decision on the exact parking increase for fall 2018.

“We are evaluating several scenarios and will share more information with campus when a decision is made,” she said.

UNC Charlotte has the second most expensive resident parking passes in the UNC System, only surpassed by UNC Chapel Hill which offers reserved spaces to students for a higher price, a service UNC Charlotte does not offer. Residents at UNC Charlotte currently pay $450 while residents at NC State pay anywhere between $275 and $370. Residents at Appalachian State University pay $240 and residents at East Carolina University pay $404.

UNC Charlotte charges students more than any of the other UNC System schools for summer session parking passes.

The newly-elected student body president and board of trustees member, Niayai Lavine, addressed student representatives about the change April 19 during the Student Government Association (SGA) Thursday Senate meeting. Lavine told student representatives about the increase, which has received some opposition.

Sahithi Meduri, the sophomore class president is one of the student representatives who is against the price hike. She says, “it’s unacceptable and not fair that students express their concerns and no one listens.”

Meduri added, “I do not support the parking permit increase due to several reasons. One main reason being that students are not able to afford the current price as is. The second reason being that the student government has spoken to PaTS regarding students concerns of this increase, but they did not take any of our concerns into consideration.”

Camille Reynolds, the chair of the SGA’s Student Affairs Committee, also voiced her disdain for the university administration.

“I do not under any circumstances support a parking permit increase,” commented Reynolds. “Our permits are expensive enough as it is. Why should we have to pay more for our parking rights for the school being in debt? How is that our fault? The smallest increase makes a difference.”

Kristine Slade, the senior class president, took a position against the university in a statement, saying:

“As a first-generation college student relying on scholarships and financial aid, kicking out $450 each year has taken away money that could be spent on other academic resources. When comparing UNC Charlotte parking costs to other universities and institutions, our parking costs are significantly higher. By raising the price even more than what it is, it would only add an additional stress to students.”

PaTS plans to add a discount remote permit for North Deck for commuters beginning in fall 2018.

UNC Charlotte Foundation plans to open a UNC Charlotte-branded hotel

The UNC Charlotte Foundation has taken a significant step in the expansion of the university.

A plan approved and funded by the UNC Charlotte Foundation has been released detailing a 226-room, full-service Marriott hotel with a three-meal full-service restaurant and a 15,000-square-foot conference center. A terraced pedestrian plaza links the light rail bridge on Tryon to the Charlotte Research Institute campus. A campus bus stop would provide access to the rest of campus.

The hotel will serve as a “home” for visiting alumni who may be in Charlotte for university business or otherwise. Over time, the goal is for the hotel to become an important alumni engagement opportunity.

Niles Sorensen, president of the UNC Charlotte Foundation, believes the project is vital to the growth of the university community.

“We believe an on-campus hotel will offer an important amenity to the campus — drawing parents and families for move-in days, commencements, family days and other campus events, serving as a gathering place for out-of-town alumni who visit campus, particularly on football weekends and again, thanks to the light rail linkage, the hotel will draw a diverse set of visitors to Charlotte who will have the chance to experience our campus,” he said.

The project is privately funded by the foundation.

Sorensen also commented on the Chancellor’s role and stance on the project stating “the accomplishment of the project is among the chancellor’s priorities.”

The project will bring the university up to par with the other major research universities in the state, such as UNC Chapel Hill, NC State and Duke, which all have similar on-campus facilities.

The project also will fix a long-term problem for the university. UNC Charlotte is currently restricted in the number and size of academic conferences they can host, because of the lack of conference facilities near the campus. The 15,000-square-foot conference center that is included in the plans would allow UNC Charlotte to host a number of conferences in the coming years.

The newly-opened light rail station directly across the street from the proposed site, which creates a convenient linkage to the center city, helped fuel this project. The foundation believes this project overall can be an important opportunity and way for our faculty and alumni to connect the larger community for executive education, certification courses and campus events.  

The hotel will house a three-meal restaurant which will include outdoor seating, both activating the corner of J. W. Clay and Tryon and providing a university destination for Charlotte residents and visitors on the light rail line.

Some students are opposing the creation of a hotel and requesting money go to academic or parking projects.

“Again, it is important to note that this is a project that is privately funded by the University-affiliated Foundation, and not by the University or the State of North Carolina,” Sorensen said. “Academic buildings have, in every case, I think, been funded by the State of North Carolina through either appropriated dollars or bond proceeds that are state, not campus, obligations. Parking is a service funded by the parking fees that faculty, staff and students pay.”

The Charlotte City Council will hear more about the project in the coming months and will be crucial in approving the project for construction.

Niner Palooza: Free food, fun and so much more

Niner Palooza will once again be coming to campus Monday, March 26.

Niner Palooza is a series of events that gets students involved with the Student Government Association (SGA) annual spring elections, starting with a “Why Fair” and a session to meet and greet the candidates for the upcoming election, followed by the annual election debate which will be conducted by the SGA Board of Elections Monday at 5 p.m. in the Student Union rotunda. Free pizza and refreshments will be available to students at the debate.

The first event is the annual “Why Fair” for campus department, an opportunity for students to ask campus departments questions about why they exist on campus and what they can assist students with in the future.

The SGA candidates running in the election will also be present during this time, as Niner Palooza also serves as a final campaign event before online voting opens.  

Goldfinger’s and FunOhCakes food trucks will be free for the first 150 students who arrive to the event.

One SGA presidential ticket, Niayai Lavien and Chandler Crean, say they couldn’t be more excited for Niner Palooza and debate.

“We’re looking forward to tabling and getting to know students on a personal level at the candidates fair,” Crean said.

Naiyai Lavien, who is running to be the student body president, added on to her running mate saying, “In the debate, Chandler and I are looking forward to hearing concerns and interacting with more students. Our platform #StrikeGold was created to increase student participation within the campus community and SGA. We aim to amplify student voice, increase transparency and address student concerns, and this debate and Niner Palooza is the perfect place to do just that.”

The other ticket running for student body president and vice president is just as enthusiastic about Niner Palooza. Mildred Martinez who is running for president and her running mate RJ Chisolm said they are looking forward to being able to talk to the other candidates, as well as meeting with students that they have yet to meet during the election and campaign cycle. They are also really excited for voting to start.

Niner Palooza will take place in the CHHS/COED plaza directly in front of the Student Union from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The election debate will follow taking place in the Student Union rotunda at 5 p.m.

The general election for SGA will begin Tuesday at midnight and conclude Wednesday at 5 p.m. Students can vote at Vote.Uncc.edu. The positions being elected include student body president and vice president, the senior, junior and sophomore class president and college senators as well as a vote on two constitutional amendments to the student body constitution proposed by the Senate.

Upcoming construction brings change to east campus

Changes will be coming to campus next spring, as part the university’s master plan. The long-term plan, which was developed by facilities management, the Office of the Chancellor and other leaders on campus, highlights major multi-million dollar projects that will improve the campus over the next decade or so. Part of that master plan included the East Campus Infrastructure Project, which began planning in the spring of 2014.

Almost four years later, the East Campus Infrastructure project moved from the planning phase to the design phase. The project has an estimated budget of $7.687 million. However, some of the cost will be split between the City of Charlotte and the N.C. Department of Transportation because some of the roads involved are maintained by the city and state.

The project will introduce a new traffic layout in the east campus area. This new traffic pattern will result in the closing of parking lot 6A and the shutdown of entrances and exits on campus. The construction phase of this project is scheduled to start March 2019 with a projected completion date sometime in May 2020. During the construction phase, it may be an inconvenience for drivers. 

Brian Kugler, the senior project manager with UNC Charlotte’s facilities management office, explained how the university plans to handle the construction phase of the project.

“There will be lane closures during construction with directed traffic. The intent is not to have any full road closures and we hope to have the bulk of construction take place during the summer when the traffic loads are lighter,” Kugler said.

The construction will also be broken up into different stages to ensure drivers can access this area of campus at all times while construction takes place. 

The most notable change is the east campus entrance will be remodeled. John Kirk Drive will be routed into campus to meet with Cameron Boulevard at a signalized intersection, bringing with it the thousands of cars that travel on that road each day.

The purpose behind the new traffic pattern is to lower congestion in that area, add independent and separated bike lanes for students as well as lay the foundation for a bigger project.

Once the traffic redesign is complete, the next project in that area, according to the long-term plan, is the addition of multiple multi-million dollar buildings in the new area over the course of about a decade.

The major Martin Hall parking lot, known as Lot Six, will be replaced with a parking deck that will be one of the largest parking decks on campus.

A new residence hall, adjacent from Martin Hall, will start planning or design until 2022.

The university has also looked into building a Garden Welcome Center and a Performing Arts Center, which will be placed in that same area. However, these ideas are not yet in the formal planning process and years away.

One thing is for sure, when students arrive from the summer break for the 2019-20 academic year, they will no longer see the East Campus they’ve come to know, rather the framework for the future of UNC Charlotte’s East Campus expansion plan.

Moore and Sanford scheduled for demolition

Moore Hall. Photo by Katelynn Pennington.

The towers which helped lay the foundation of South Village will be demolished in the years to come.

Moore Hall, after exactly 49 years of towering over the Charlotte campus, will close for demolition at the conclusion of the fall 2018 semester. Sanford Hall will be open for the entire 2018-19 academic year, but demolished soon after.

The two towers will be replaced with a combined residence hall, costing 58.5 million, that will house anywhere between 750-800 students. The new building will offer low-income housing options to students. The same company who designed Levine Hall has been brought in to design the new building that will take the place of the towers.

“The university planned to renovate Moore and Sanford Halls as was done on Holshouser and is being done with Scott Hall. However, escalation in construction prices and our experience with those two renovations caused us to change the plan,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Philip Jones.

Scott Hall was originally authorized $2.25 million for renovations in late 2015. The Scott Hall renovation cost has surpassed $21.9 million in total cost over the last three years.  

“The new residence hall will be traditional rooms for two students. These will be priced at the lower end of price range for on-campus housing to help students who are on a tight budget. However, the new hall will be first class in every way with plenty of daylight, study areas, convenient laundry, lounges and meeting room. The same level of amenities could not be achieved in a renovated high rise,” Jones said.

The Moore and Sanford towers are no stranger when it comes to on campus problems. In 2013, both towers had water and heat shortages forcing students to evacuate the towers.

Stephan Ervin, a freshman resident, is glad to see the towers come down.

“Although the towers tend to be more social, they have major problems such as plumbing, elevator speed and safety as well as the air conditioning systems,” Ervin said.

Another freshman resident, Carter Lemmons, is also glad to see the towers come down.

“Moore often has critical issues regarding electricity, only one working elevator, it always smells bad and just isn’t a nice place to live,” Lemmons said.

The scheduled completion date of the project is September 2020, however, the project is still in the initial stages of planning and development.